Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: Takes place directly after Sunstreaker and Bluestreak's conversation with Perceptor in 'Once More With Feeling'.

- Changin' -

Sunstreaker stalked through the Ark, for once mindless of the Bots that scattered out of his way, and even of the few that didn't, brushing past them without hearing the snarky 'watch it!'s. He was a mech on a mission right now - a mission to find his brother and demand to know what the frag he was thinking. Bluestreak might have convinced him to give Perceptor a chance, but even the gunner couldn't get Sunstreaker to like the geek if he had no redeeming qualities. Which, to Sunstreaker's optics, he didn't.

The scientist was certainly nice enough, and carefully polite, but that was actually part of what Sunstreaker didn't like about him. He'd dealt with 'carefully polite' nobles before the war, he knew personally just how false they could be, how little 'lesser' Cybertronians meant to them. Perceptor struck him as far too similiar for him to let his brother risk his spark on. Sideswipe had already had his spark broken once.

"It take it he failed your little test?" Sideswipe's bland question stopped Sunstreaker short as he stepped out of the Ark. He glanced to his left and frowned at his brother, leaning against the rock face, twirling something small and shiney in his hands. The other mech was in an odd mood, Sunstreaker could feel it over the bond, but he'd also started the conversation, so Sunstreaker wasn't going to stop now.

"You're an idiot." Sunstreaker declared, crossing his arms and glaring at his twin.

"So people frequently tell me." Sideswipe said with a small snort. "What don't you like about him?"

"Be shorter to ask what I do like about him." Sunstreaker growled.

"Alright, what do you like about him?" Sideswipe said, grinning slightly, though he still hadn't looked away from whatever he was playing with. Sunstreaker paused, mind momentarily blank as his brother unexpectedly followed through on the rhetorical suggestion.

"He's the same color as you." Sunstreaker finally settled on, letting his arms fall to his sides. Sideswipe laughed.

"Why am I not surprised?" the red twin said. "He's not that bad, Sunny."

"He reminds me of the nobles I used to have to deal with." Sunstreaker said after a moment.

"What, socially inept and scared sparkless of you?" Sideswipe asked, looking at his brother for the first time since their conversation started. Sunstreaker opened his mouth to disagree with his brother, but paused, rethinking his earlier encounter with Bluestreak and Perceptor and reluctantly admitting to himself that the scientist's reactions and manner could be taken that way, as well. Sideswipe, feeling Sunstreaker's reluctantance over the bond, smiled sardonicly. "I do know what I'm doing, Sunny."

"Do you?" Sunstreaker asked with a sigh, going and joining his brother in leaning against the cliff face.

"Hey, at least this time I've picked a pacifist. Less chance of getting killed in combat." Sideswipe said dryly. Sunstreaker shot his brother a disbelieving look.

"Did you just -"

"Yes. Yes I did."

Sunstreaker stared at his brother for a few moments longer before leaning back against the rockface again, looking up at the sky. If Sideswipe was making jokes about Inertia...

"You're sure about him?" Sunstreaker asked.

"I...like him. He's smarter than me, and I know it. I'm better at combat than him, and he knows it. We balance each other out." Sideswipe mused thoughtfully.

"If you start spouting scientific jargon at me I reserve the right to bribe Ratchet to deactivate his vocalizer." Sunstreaker vowed, and Sideswipe snickered, tossing the object he was playing with up in the air and barely catching it again. For some reason Sunstreaker felt anxious when he did that, and when Sideswipe tossed the object again, the golden twin reached out and snatched the object mid-air. Sideswipe let him have it, crossing his arms and staring up at the sky as his brother inspected the object.

It was a paint applicator - a rather common object, at least on Cybertron. There were only a few here on Earth, all belonging to Ratchet or Hoist. However, this one quite obviously did not belong to them, being far to fine-tuned and complex for the type of work they used theirs for. The complexity and fine-tuned settings were familiar to Sunstreaker, through - he'd owned many like it, once. In fact, Sunstreaker realized in shock as he noticed a familiar colored splotch on the applicator, he'd once owned this one.

"Where..." Sunstreaker asked in wonderment, his mind reaching back to their days as gladiators in Kaon, and the last time he'd seen this particular implement. "You've had it all this time?"

"It may have taken us a few thousand vorns, but I had a feeling there'd come a time when we would finally, actually leave Kaon behind us, in all ways, and I could give it all back to you." Sideswipe said with a faint smile, looking over at his brother.

"'All'?" Sunny asked, a suspicious look on his face, and in response, Sideswipe pulled a familiar jar out of his subspace - special irridescant paint, one of the most expensive kinds Sunstreaker had owned, and impossible to get here on Earth. The golden mech all but squealed with glee. "Sides, Perceptor can't have you, I'm keeping you for myself!"

"But I wanna get laid on a regular basis!" Sideswipe whined.

"You can go have one-night stands." Sunstreaker said dismissively, taking the paint carefully from his brother.

"Haha, now your hands are full, I shall escape!" Sideswipe declared, and made a mock-move towards the entrance of the Ark. Sunstreaker watched him impassively, knowing his brother wasn't actually going anywhere. "Didn't we have this discussion when you decided to pursue Blue? I'm not going anywhere without you, I'm still your twin, I'm not going to forget about you, this just means there's someone new for you to harass. Though if you can wait on the harassment until I cure him of his paralyzing fear of my psychotic brother, that'd be great. I'd rather not have him traumatized."

"Yeah yeah...it's just...different from this end." Sunstreaker mumbled.

"Ha! I told you!" Sideswipe declared imperiously, then sobered. "Seriously, the most this will change is that I won't be hanging around like a fifth - well, ninth through twelfth - wheel with you and Blue so much anymore."

"I know, I know." Sunstreaker said with a sigh as he carefully stowed the paint and applicator in his subspace. "Frag, I was just getting comfortable, and you have to up and do this. Do you like upsetting my life or something?"

"Things have been changing for awhile, Sunny." Sideswipe said softly. "We've all felt it. It's this planet, and the humans. They live so rapidly, change is a daily part of their lives, and it's rubbing off on us, encouraging us to make the changes we've been resisting for awhile. Prowl and Jazz, you and Blue - slag, I'd even swear I've seen Ratchet making eyes at Wheeljack lately. Our scars are being healed, or pushed into the past where they belong, and we're all moving on. Have you noticed that Mirage has lost his stuck-up noble bearing? That Cliffjumper is less of a glitch? Optimus himself doesn't seem so...world-weary anymore."

"Yeah, I've noticed." Sunstreaker said, then glared up at the sky. "Stupid planet."

"What, would you rather live in the battle-scarred past?" Sideswipe said sarcasticly.

"No." Sunstreaker admitted. "Just...give me a bit to get used to the present."

"That I can do, Sunny. Just don't take too long." Sideswipe said, resting a hand on his brother's shoulder. Sunstreaker gave him a weak smile. "The rest of your paints are in our room. You'll have to see Wheeljack about getting a new easel, though - your old one was too big to fit in my subspace."

"Yeah. It was a pain in the aft." Sunstreaker said with amusement.

"Wheeljack can probably built you a collapsible one." Sideswipe said cheerfully.

"If by 'collapsible' you mean it explodes itself into smaller pieces that can then fit into subspace, I'm sure you're right." Sunstreaker said with a snort, then raised a hand to stop Sideswipe from speaking even as he finished. "Yes, I have realized that Wheeljack's explosions are mostly on purpose these days." Sideswipe chuckled.

"As long as you realize." he said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a seduction to plot."

"Gah, Primus, don't ever use 'seduction' to refer to Perceptor ever again." Sunstreaker said with a shudder.

"Why, you don't want to hear about how I'm going to seduce him into admitting that he wants to be seduced by me so we can do the type of things mechs that have seduced each other do -" Sideswipe ducked inside the Ark as Sunstreaker took a swipe at him. "You can't help but love me and you knooow it!" Sideswipe sing-songed from inside, then took off, leaving Sunstreaker outside to shake his head and growl, glaring at the ground for a few minutes before he gave into his inner sparkling and hurried off to his and Sideswipe's shared quarters to squeal over his old paints.

"Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown..."

- 'The Times They Are A-Changin' Bob Dylan

- THE END -