What Darkness Brings

(A Complications of Life side story)

By: Nightelfcrawler

Disclaimer: I do not own, merely covet adoringly.

Authors' note: This is a prequel leading up to events in Complications of Life. You needn't read it first, they can be read in either order if you prefer.

Warnings: This is a slash story, both with back history of violence and forcible M/M, as well as complications thereof and pursuant romance. You have been warned.

Chapter Three

He was aroused by a low groan somewhere off to the side, followed by a dull thump as something clattered to the ground. On-lining his optics groggily, he squinted through the gloom in time to see Starscream attempting to empty his tanks into the floor. He forced himself to sit up, and scooted closer, supporting his friend as he retched dry air, nothing in his tanks to get rid of, fortunately. "You had a good night." He commented dryly, smiling as Starscream shot an irritable glare his way. "What, you fell asleep in the pool just like that."

And you still snore. Came the wry reply. Haven't you gotten that pump fixed yet?

"Why?" Skyfire chuckled. "You were the only one bothered by it."

Ugh. Starscream grunted, shoving himself into a half-sitting position, leaning back against the wall as he sighed in frustration. His optics scanned the room briefly before he suddenly squirmed, and looked down to see a pair of bright violet optics staring up at him. He blinked in surprise.

"Look at that." Skyfire marveled as the little sparkling crawled out of his chassis. It wasn't the only change, he noticed. As it crawled out of it's sheltered space inside it's sire's body, he noticed small little flat nubs of metal had started growing on it's back, their shape very distinctive. He smiled. "Looks like it's going to be a flier." He mused. "It seems to have decided it wants to be like you, I think."

Starscream scooped the little one up in his palms, staring at it with unhidden curiosity as he studied the small nubs on it's back. They were far too tiny to tell what kind of build it was choosing, but Skyfire was right, it's optics had changed to become the exact same shade as it's sire's, and the way the nubs were forming it looked similar in shape to a seeker's distinctly triangular wings. It peered up at him with clear intelligence, studying him in silence before it let out a long complex stream of warbles and chirps. Starscream blinked, obviously a little surprised, before looking up at Skyfire. "What did it say?" he asked, curiously. The strange sparkling language was almost always only decipherable by the creator, as the sparkling's thought processes closely linked to that of it's sire.

I'm not quite sure. Starscream finally admitted. It seems to think we both are strange looking.

"Well…" Skyfire started, only to be shot a sharp look from his friend. He smiled. "You need to give it a primary name. We can't keep calling him 'it' all the time."

True. Came the reluctant reply. Most mechs were given a primary name at birth, and as they matured and their skills or personalities developed, their secondary name was assigned. Usually fliers were given common surnames, Star, Sky, Sun, any of the heavenly bodies. In many mechs cases, their skills would develop in puberty, granting them a natural second name. Skyfire had always found this amusing, as his second name said nothing about himself. He was not spunky or rebellious, and he had no special skill, unlike Skywarp or Thundercracker, or even Starscream who actually DID have a unique talent that had earned him his name… but it wasn't something he was particularly proud of. He had always resented it. Like Thundercracker, he had the ability to manipulate the world around him by using a weapon of his own skill, that had become part of his programming early on. A shriek from his modulating vocal processor would shatter audio receptors, glass, and even deafen someone if he ignited it close-range. He had seen him use it only in desperate situations, such as being locked up in a tight space during their academy years by a few thugs that had thought he was easy pickings. Upon graduating the thugs STILL had to be yelled at for them to hear anything, and the locker they had stuffed him in had to be completely torn out as it had been melted on all sides during the explosion. Still, Starscream had always resented his name, as much teasing had developed from it. The Screamer, Screaming one… the list went on, and Starscream hadn't exactly given them a reason not to use the nicknames, as his voice usually DID get shrill and harsh when he was upset. It hadn't helped that his vocalizer had been nearly melted when he'd been young, resulting in his infamous scratchy and hoarse voice. Skyfire sighed, glancing over at the mech watching as he studied his sparkling, feeling somewhat sad that he didn't even have that anymore. He was as silent as he would ever be, and it wasn't natural… not for him.

"Come on, we should refuel." Skyfire grunted, pushing himself up to his feet and offering a hand down to his friend. "Then I can start reforming your armor and re-attaching it."

Starscream took his hand, pulling himself up as the sparkling tittered cheekily, grabbing onto his shoulder and perching there. He lightly patted the sparkling, and got chattered at crossly for his trouble. He nodded to his partner, and with his assistance, stumbled into the lab and seated himself with some relief on the table as Skyfire handed him a full cube and a smaller one for the sparkling which Starscream subsequently handed to it. It was consumed greedily, as he sipped his own mean slower. I didn't do anything… incriminating last night, did I? Came a sudden question.

"Er… no." Skyfire said after a moment's thought. "We talked, but that's about it. Actually…" He leaned back in his chair, drinking his energon slowly. "You were more open than I expected. I'm glad you could finally share things with me."

Starscream winced a little, his optics searching as he obviously didn't remember what had been discussed right away, and had to think on it. Once he was certain Skyfire wasn't hiding any embarrassing truths from him, he nodded slightly, rubbing his head to relieve the pounding in his processor. As long as I didn't embarrass myself.

"You didn't, don't worry." Skyfire reassured. They were silent for a while, listening to the hum of the lights as they partook in their breakfasts. "Starscream…" he finally spoke, causing the mech in question to glance up. "What do you plan to do once I finish your repairs?"

Starscream blinked at him, then averted his optics abruptly. I am not sure. Came the muted response. Wherever I go, unless I take care to disguise myself, I will be recognized.

"I can make your armor different so that won't happen." Skyfire admitted. "You'd have to take another alt, but I could do it. We could ensure no one would recognize you. A few extra parts, a new paint job… besides you're 'dead' to everyone, no one will know." He studied him carefully. "But the question is, are you going to return and try and finish what you started?" Starscream looked up at him sharply. "It has to be asked." He sighed, apologetically shrugging at him. "I'm worried about you. Your brothers are worried about you, they wanted me to make sure you didn't go back seeking revenge."

Starscream sighed, dropping his empty cube on the table next to him and shaking his head. No… I can promise you I have no desire to face him again. He sent dimly. As much as I would like to crush his spark chamber between my own fingers… He trailed off and sighed. He was too powerful before… now he is invincible.

A cold shiver ran down Skyfire's back as a sense of foreboding flooded through him. "What do you mean?"

Starscream lifted his optics, their violet gaze turning dark. You always wanted to know why my spark was different. So did I. Well… I found out what makes it different.

Skyfire stiffened, alarm spreading through him. "What did you discover?"

I cannot die.

A chill ran down his back, shock flooding his processor. "What?" he squeezed out.

Megatron discovered it swiftly. Came the controlled response. The first time he killed me, he thought it was over… but he discovered my spark had not extinguished, despite having been delivered a fatal blow that made my body lose all function. He then discovered the joy of fixing me… to kill me all over again. Starscream shuddered suddenly. It happened again and again… he would tell me in detail what he had done, when I didn't remember it. After a while… I just wanted him to get it over with and kill me… I welcomed the darkness. He offlined his optics, grimacing. I have never been willingly suicidal until that day… I begged for death… he granted it to me… but it was pointless, as I would live again the moment he fixed my body. No matter what he tried to do… even a fusion cannon to the spark chamber didn't work. He told me in detail how fascinating it was to watch my spark glow, despite a blast that should have melted it. Starscream shuddered again, drawing his legs closer to his chest, staring emptily at the ground. And then… he did the worst thing he could have done…

Skyfire reached out and put a hand comfortingly on his friend's small shoulders, glad that he didn't pull away. "Star…" He whispered softly. "I am sorry. I truly am… This should not have happened to anyone… It completely floors me to think that he would be capable of something this heinous."

He did it for a reason. Starscream said suddenly, his optics hard as they lifted to meet his friend's. He's not stupid enough to weaken himself by tying to another. Even he would not willingly have gone that far without a purpose.

Skyfire froze. "What do you mean?"

Starscream lifted his gaze, staring intently at him with a sudden intensity. By linking himself to me… he makes himself invulnerable. My spark cannot be extinguished, and as a result, neither can his.

Skyfire felt his processor short out, as for a moment his vision flickered as the shock hit him full force. "Primus…" he whispered, when finally his system had rebooted enough to allow speech. "Are you saying he… bonded himself to you?"

Starscream averted his gaze, shame reflecting sharply on his features. As I said… he had his purpose. With this, he can not be killed so long as I live. And seeing as I cannot die…

Skyfire felt rage flooding through his system as he surged to his feet. He couldn't see straight as fury overwhelmed his system, driving him into a sudden black-out of madness. He never before had felt such indignation, such hatred for another being. He was a pacifist, and abhorred war and everything to do with it, yet in this moment, he longed to strangle Megtron himself and sought to crush his spark chamber in his own very fist. Yet he was unable to stop the torrential burst of utter revulsion that swept through him, gripping him like a vise, choking the life out of him.

It was only when he heard a sudden high-pitched keening wail that he finally brought himself out of the rage, only to find that he had Starscream pushed up against the wall, his feet dangling, his optics wide with panic, the little sparkling screaming it's fear as it clutched tightly to it's sire. Shock flooded through him as he stared into Starscream's face, his friend's expression of terror sent guilt washing through him immediately. "I…I'm so sorry." He gasped, quickly releasing his tight hold. Starscream crumbled to the floor unsupported, and Skyfire instantly knelt beside him, concern and guilt washing through him as his friend rubbed at his neck, small tremors running through his body. "Starscream…."

No. Was the terse reply as a hand came up, stopping him from approaching. Just…go.

"I can't do that." Skyfire said softly, not making any attempt to touch him, wincing at the sparklings keening wail. "I'm so sorry… I … I just felt…"

I know. Was the quiet response, surprising Skyfire as he regarded his friend, guilt still nagging at him as the realization of what he'd nearly done pulled at his spark.

"Primus… I'm sorry." Skyfire mumbled, letting his face fall into his hands. "I'm so sorry. I've never lost control like that before…"

And you did for me? Was the quiet question in his thoughts. I'm touched. There was absolutely no sense of mocking in his tone, but rather genuine open gratitude. Starscream lifted his gaze, and while it still held a frightened edge to it, his quaking had stopped, and he had gathered the sparkling into his hands, and was gently stroking it's back, trying to calm it.

"I'm sorry." Skyfire murmured again, shuttering his optics as he grimaced. "But the realization of what he did, and WHY he did it… No one… no one should be that… that…." He grimaced again, unable to find words fitting enough to utter. "I just… I mean…" He shook his head in silence.

Starscream was silent, the sobbing of the sparkling easing a little as he calmed it. Thank you. He suddenly said, surprising Skyfire.

"What?" Skyfire asked, still shaken. "Why would you thank me for nearly killing you!"

Because… Came the quiet reply. To know that you care that deeply… He abruptly paused, his optics averting quickly.

Skyfire felt his spark surge within him as the implications of his earlier suspicions itched in his processors. He stared at the mech across from him, feeing a strange surge of mixed emotions flood him. And then… he did something that he perhaps shouldn't have. He reached forward and lightly caught Starscream's chin with his strong hand, lifting it so that he forced his friend to meet his gaze. For a moment, they stared at each other, both frozen in place as they regarded each other in complete silence. And then, Skyfire moved swiftly, afraid his courage would break if he hesitated and gently pushed his lips against Starscream's own, not insistent in case he rejected the move, but firm enough to show how exactly he felt. It was a silly gesture perhaps, but his spark was pounding so hard within his chest, he could barely hear anything around him. At first, he felt Starscream tense against him, obviously taken by surprise at the contact, and he was afraid he might pull away, intimidated or frightened by the contact. But after a moment, he felt him relax and then tentatively return the pressure.

It could not last long, and Skyfire finally broke contact, pulling back and gasping for breath, startled at his bold move, and afraid to meet optics with Starscream. His processor was whirling as he tried to figure out what he'd been thinking, mentally cursing himself for taking advantage of someone in such a compromising situation. Starscream had just escaped the most harrowing and traumatic part of his life, he could NOT have picked a worse time for this, and guilt immediately plagued him. Hesitantly, he glanced over at Starscream. If he feared what his friend might have thought, he should not have worried. Starscream was sitting there with a rather dazed expression on his face, optics unfocused, seeming to be utterly lost for words. Skyfire immediately groaned. "Starscream… I am so sorry… I don't know what came over me… I should not have done that…I…"

Shut up. Came the sudden reply. Skyfire cringed and looked up at his friend, then froze, startled to see Starscream staring back at him with a mix of surprise and respect, not a shred of anger. Why did you do that?

"I'm sorry…" Skyfire sputtered again. "Honestly, I don't know why… I just… I don't know, I know I shouldn't have…" But he was abruptly silenced by strong pressure against his lips as Starscream leaned into him, shutting him up quickly as he kissed him fiercely, one hand grabbing his shoulder and practically yanking him forward. Taken by surprise, Skyfire managed to relax into it, his processor whirling as their dispute slipped away into silence as the contact sent trickles of electricity into his spark as the realization of what this meant spun around his head wildly. Yet, it oddly did not seem to bother him. He felt the problems of the day slipping away as their kiss lingered, lost in their own personal revelations.

At last, Starscream pulled back, having to gasp for breath himself as his vents stuttered on, sending him sagging against the bulkhead, and making Skyfire sag back against the table, head spinning. Neither of them said a thing, not daring break the tension in the room. However, Skyfire felt less ill at ease, especially when he risked a glance over at Starscream, only to find him staring back with mischievous optics. "You…" Skyfire sputtered. "Enjoyed that."

Yes, I did.

Skyfire let his head thunk back against the table heavily. "And here I thought you would be horrified…."

Surprised, yes… horrified, hardly. Came the amused response, and Skyfire watched with a jealous expression as Starscream lightly licked his lips, obviously enjoying taunting him. What fragging took you so long?

Skyfire blinked. "Excuse me?"

Primus, Skyfire… you are as dense as a bulkhead. I dropped so many hints to you during our apprenticeship… yet your head was as thick as titanium.

Skyfire felt warmth flooding his heat sinks as suddenly, everything fell into place. "Dear Primus." He gulped. "You mean that night…"

I practically forced myself on you. Starscream snorted, fixing him with a stare. And you STILL didn't get it. I gave up after that. I figured you just weren't interested. He averted his optics then, his words turning more serious. But… it didn't change how I felt.

Skyfire grimaced, letting his face sink into his hand again. "Ugh…" He moaned. "So the reason you came back for me… the reason you threw away your whole life…?"

Uh huh. Was the flat response.

Skyfire felt his coolant fans kick in as embarrassment flooded him. "Oops."

Starscream merely smirked, his shoulders shaking in silent laughter as a wide grin settled over his face, and for the first time since Skyfire had seen his friend again, he saw joy free of pain on his face, optics laughing with unhidden amusement, no sign of grief or the haunted expression that had lingered in his optics for so long. Oops? He mocked. That's all you have to say?

"Um… sorry?" Skyfire gulped, feeling the heat building up around him, his fans whirling wildly, much to his embarrassment. "I suppose I AM rather slow…"

Only a bit.

Skyfire sighed, shaking his head, flustered by his embarrassment. "So… you're ok with this then? Even after…"

Primus, Skyfire… Came the wry reply. There is a very large difference between what was forced upon me and what I choose. Do not make the mistake of confusing the two.

"Right." Skyfire said, smiling rather nervously. "Sorry. You know me… I'm not very good at er… this kind of stuff."

You do not give yourself enough credit. Starscream mused. I thought that was quite well done.

Skyfire surged to his feet, trying to hide his flustered feelings by trying to distract himself. "Ahem… erm… we should really get to work…" Starscream fixed him with a knowing look, but accepted his hand as he helped him to his feet, the little sparkling now having calmed down to stare warily up at him, still freshly remembering what he had nearly done to it's sire, not as easy to forgive, as it had no clue of the two full-grown mechs' connections. Skyfire let Starscream seat himself back on the table, making himself comfortable as he himself reached for a few of the armor pieces laying on the ground. He could FEEL the stare boring down into the back of his head as he picked the right shape he needed and pulled out the hammer and began to heat up his iron. He gave the mech a precursory glance, noting Starscream's keen expression as he watched. "I ah… thought you might like to have something closer to your old build back… I'm not the best craftsman, but I think I can do a decent job. It might not hold up to a full assault, but it won't look hideous at least." He worked hard to shape the pieces, and the entire time they didn't speak. But as he finally had a good pile of armor set aside, finally Starscream broke the silence.

You're avoiding the issue.

He winced. "Yes… I suppose so." He sat down, delivering a few quick blows to the armor piece, turning it's shape and hammering out the weak spots. "I just… gah… I'm not sure how to approach this."

How about telling me what you are thinking… and how you feel.

Skyfire hesitated, his hammer lowering as he forced himself to meet the violet stare. "I…I don't know how I feel, Star." He said quietly. "I'm… relieved that you're not angry at me… but I'm a bit… confused otherwise." He sighed, setting the tool down and weaving his hands together as he leaned on his knees. "I mean… I didn't even know I wanted to do that until I did it."

Starscream regarded him calmly, violet optics calculating as he watched his friend struggle with his own feelings. You never once thought of me in that way before?

Skyfire felt his fans kick on again. "…well…" He said nervously, lifting his optics to stare back at Starscream, making the silver mech smile knowingly. "…yeah ok so I guess I did erm… have inappropriate thoughts now and then…" He sighed. "It was hard not to… I mean… I noticed you when we were first paired together." He felt his embarrassment heighten as he caught a smirk from his partner. "How could I not. You were beautiful." He blurted out, then winced at his revelation, and glanced at Starscream, seeing him grinning at him. "Don't you smirk at me. You knew you were." Starscream shrugged wordlessly, still amused. "It was hard not to admire your form. You were built sleek and seamless… next to you I felt bulky and awkward… And it wasn't just your build, it was your mind that drew me to you as well. You're brilliant, Star… always have been. You never let the others tell you otherwise, you proved them wrong at every turn, and you WERE right… you were the top of the class… the only reason you didn't get the awards was because the others didn't get along with you…. But you always were the smartest." He glanced up, returning Starscream's knowing look with a rather flustered one of his own. "I never thought that… I mean we were friends, good friends, and I was young. I wanted to prove myself to the science community just like you did… It never occurred to me… I mean, I wanted to focus on our work. So I was so distracted, I just didn't think like that."

I noticed. Starscream said dryly. You always were rather naive.

"No argument there." He grinned awkwardly. "But… what about you?" He asked slowly. "Now that you told me… I understand a bit more what you must have gone through thinking I was dead…" The realization sunk into his processor sharply. No wonder Starscream had lost it… if he'd really cared that much for him… he must have felt like he was going insane with grief. "But… you must have eventually moved on?"

Starscream grimaced. Eventually. He admitted rather reluctantly, watching as Skyfire knelt to start attaching armor to his chassis, starting with the plates on his back. Through hate, anger and basically forcing myself to forget everything that had happened. It was maddening to even linger on the issue, to think about it… eventually it just became easier not to… He seemed to trail off, thinking in silence as Skyfire worked. It hurt too much to dwell on the past… I decided to lose myself into something that changed who I was entirely.

"So that's why." Skyfire murmured. "You changed so much… and it was partially my fault."

No, it was not you who is at fault. Starscream said firmly, voice resolute and insistent. I did not react rationally, this much is true, but there was also little choice to do much else. I do not hold you responsible for what befell me… I hold myself responsible.

"Still." Skyfire mused softly. "It must have been… excruciatingly difficult when you saw me on the docks again… After so many years believing I was dead…"

Starscream squirmed, forcing Skyfire to clamp a hand down on his shoulder, holding him as he welded the armor piece on. It was…disconcerting. He admitted at last. I thought it was a mistake, that I was seeing things. There had been times during drunken stupors where I thought I saw you, when you were not there. I thought perhaps I was glitching again…

"So that's why you didn't recognize me at first…"

I recognized you… I just thought I was glitching. Starscream flinched as the screw bolted into place, holding the armor piece as Skyfire moved on to the next one. But when I realized it was you… He trailed off, sounding rather forlorn. I wanted to flee at first… It was as if everything I knew had come to catch up with me, crashing down and destroying everything I had built to protect myself from the pain… Seeing you… I suddenly wondered where I had gone wrong… what had I done…

Skyfire grimaced, lightly squeezing his friend's shoulder. "So that's why you nearly flew off…"

I was a fool. Starscream admitted reluctantly. And behaved like one. By the time I realized what I had done, you were gone… and I had thrown away any chance of ever reconciling with you. I was shamed… and I felt as if everything was to swallow me whole then and there…. It was all I could do to flee before I did something I regretted.

"So that's why you left without killing me…."

There was no way I could have done that. Starscream said firmly. I would have embarrassed myself with abject humiliation if I had stayed… I would have probably broken down there at your feet… I could not stay without losing myself. Though I was already lost.

Skyfire sighed, lightly tracing a cable in Starscream's neck, pinching at it and making him squirm a little as he tugged at the tension, trying to relax him. "I wish you had stayed… it made things worse between us."

I know. Starscream said reluctantly. Can you forgive me for making that mistake? There are many things I regret… things I wish to atone for… I have been a blind fool for too long.

He squeezed lightly again, watching as a shiver ran up the length of the cable into Starscream's head. "I think all we can do is put the past where it belongs… behind us. You have been through more than I can relate to… there is no way I will ever completely understand it. But if you can forgive me for not being there for you… forgive me for being an idiot and not realizing how you felt… then I can forgive you for being an idiot."

Starscream's head turned slightly, violet optics catching his own. Deal. He said quietly. There was sudden hesitation as their gazes remained locked, before suddenly Starscream whirled on him, ignoring the tool that went flying out of his hand as a result, and faced him with deadly serious optics. Skyfire. Bond with me.

Skyfire blinked, shock flooding his system. "Uh…wha…?"

Would you? Starscream demanded, optics intense and almost hopeful. Would you be able to forgive me that much? Would you be able to look past my failings? Do you truly reciprocate my feelings on that level?

Skyfire felt as if his head had suddenly turned to mush. He couldn't even think straight as he stared blankly back at Starscream, his spark surging wildly in his chamber, and he could FEEL the presence of Starscream's own spark surging in reaction to his closeness. "I… uh… I mean…Primus, Star…. Are you serious?"

Very much so.

"But… what about…" Skyfire stuttered awkwardly. "I mean I know you didn't desire it… but that other bond still exists, right?"

Starscream flinched minutely. Yes… He admitted grudgingly. But I have heard that if such a bond is not consensual… that it can be masked by another. You would not be linked to him as I am, I would never put you in such a position. Starscream said firmly, optics intense. But in a case as this… a second bond can take away some of the control of the first… It cannot break it, but it can weaken it… Because I do not hold a strong link to him, only he to I…. Were this not the case, it would not be possible. His hand reached out and grabbed Skyfire's shoulder, pulling him close so that their noses nearly touched. Would you be willing to risk everything for me? Would you grant me that?

Skyfire stared at Starscream with unhidden wonder. "You truly would desire me in that way? To bond with me… That's what you want? It's not just a way to mask the pain of your other bond? You're genuine about wanting… me?"

Starscream's gaze did not waver, nor did his voice. Never. You are not a tool to be used. I love you, deeply. He said firmly. I always have… I just was too proud to admit it. Now that I know you share my feelings… being afraid to tell you seems so contrite.

Skyfire smiled slightly at that, and studied the mech with a serious expression. His spark within was beating a fast and rough cadence in his chest, eagerly urging him to accept the offer, but his logic circuits insisted on checking every angle. "So you are serious about being stuck with me for ever? You know that I'll be with you just as long as you exist if you do this…. It'll be you and I together, linked eternally. Is that what you really want?" Starscream simply fixed him with unblinking optics and nodded firmly. Skyfire felt his spark leap with joy. "Then… yes. I accept." He said quietly, reaching out and catching Starscream's hand in his. "I will be your bondmate."

The joy he saw reflected in Starscream's optics was enough to send his processor wheeling in madness. Before he knew what was happening, Starscream had launched himself at him, sparkling placed somewhere out of the way, and their lips were locked tightly in reflection of their passion. Skyfire's head reeled out of control, his spark began to burn a strong throbbing pulse in his chest as he felt Starscream's spark calling out to him, reaching out to him through the thin plating that barely protected it. It was maddening, far more so than usual, although Skyfire had never bonded or even lain with another in his life, aside from that one time they had done just this back in the academy. Starscream was insistent and bordering on the feral edge of raw lust as his fingers found perfect crevasses in Skyfire's armor, pulling them closer. There was a distracting buzz in his head, growing stronger and fiercer after a while, and driving him to clutch his partner tightly, desperate to hold onto the sudden sharp flood of warmth charging his systems. Starscream was wordless as he moved, unable to put vocalizations forth, and his mental voice was silent, as it took too much effort to focus long enough to send anything out through his comm. Instead, he tensed when Skyfire clung to him, pinching a cable and making him cringe as he realized he was nearly crushing him. "Sorry." He mumbled, only to be silenced again as Starscream covered his lips with his own. The small jolts of electricity were becoming more and more frequent, and after a moment, he felt Starscream's nimble fingers tearing at his armor, desperate to open his casing. He obliged, optics staring in fascination as Starscream's own brilliant spark was uncovered, glowing like a sun, the helix around it bold and moving faster than he'd ever seen it before, pulsing with the same frequency he felt his own spark pulse. They were synchronized, a definite sign that both of them strongly desired this bond. Unsynchronized sparks did not bond well, as Starscream knew. The unwilling participant did not link fully with the one demanding the bond, and thus non-consensual bonds were never as strong as consensual ones. He looked up at Starscream's face, and smiled seeing the pure longing need reflected back at him, desperation, desire, lust and yes… love. He smiled and gently cupped his partner's cheek with his large hand, smiling as Starscream shivered in pleasure at the simple touch. But then his optics onlined again, and with a gleeful sparkle, he wrapped his arms around Skyfire's shoulders and pulled them into a tight embrace.

It was unlike anything he had prepared himself for. The moment their sparks met, it was like fireworks exploding everywhere within his body and mind. Emotions, feelings, thoughts and desires all rushed through him in one torrential flood, mingling with his own as pure raw lust and pleasure sent him completely over the edge. Before his consciousness was lost, he did get a very serious look at some of the darkest corners of Starscream's experiences, things that he'd tried to hide back, but were completely open to his new mate. It was NOT pretty… and the overwhelming sense of pain and torment radiating out from those parts of his life was enough to put Skyfire into tears. But beyond that… he could FEEL Starscream's overwhelming joy and desire, his pure and raw love for the one friend who he had desperately tried to preserve in his mind as the one good influence in his life… the adoration and idolization of something he longed to be, but knew he could never become. It was humiliating to see himself in such a light, but also rewarding as he realized that he'd been a far stronger influence than he realized. The darkness was quickly overwhelmed with the light however, as their ecstasy merged with their consciousnesses. He wasn't aware whose scream he heard, but it occurred to him as his consciousness was beginning to fade, enveloped in the rapture, that it couldn't possibly have been Starscream…. But then, feeling his mate's consciousness mingling within his own, he wasn't even sure what he heard and what he thought anymore, before everything simply faded to black in one muddled fog.

He woke somewhat slowly, and the first thing he became aware of was a drowsy presence that was not his own mingling with his own thoughts. He onlined his optics and saw Starscream curled up on his chest, optics offline and a soft smile on his facial plates, looking completely content and happy. A small thrum of contentment resided in his spark, feeling his partner there happy and satisfied. Skyfire smiled and remained perfectly still, not wishing to disturb his slumbering mate. He felt good… he hadn't felt this good in, well since he could remember. Everything seemed to be in sharper focus around him, he felt rejuvenated, clear-minded and aware. He glanced down at Starscream again, seeing his spark pulsing gently within his chassis, plating not having retracted automatically, giving him a full view of the glorious gold spark he was now bonded to. It seemed brighter than before, pulsing gently, the double helix rotating around it slowly, twirling now and then as he watched. Curious, he cast his optics down at his own spark chamber, having to crane his head a bit to see inside at the odd angle they both were at. His optics widened in surprise as he saw his own blue spark pulsing gently, and around it was stamped the same double helix that Starscream possessed. It was just as strong as his mate's, and Skyfire had a strange feeling of weightlessness as the full impact of what that meant sunk in. He was bonded to an immortal spark… he too then was immortal. His tie to Starscream would sustain his life indefinitely, unless for whatever reason the bond was broken… and to break a bond was a very difficult thing to do, and usually required a death… but how did that work then if both mechs were unable to die? The thought danced cheerily around his processors, before the realization of one more thing hit him. What of Megatron then? He too was linked to Starscream, though not willingly on Starscream's part… the bond would not be as strong as theirs, but it still was a bond. And if Megatron were also unable to be killed, how then could they break that bond? The thought churned a path in his processors. Now that he was bonded to Starscream, he found himself extremely protective and jealous. He did NOT want to share him, especially with THAT abhorrent mech. He needed to find a way to break the bond chaining his mate down, if not to take down Megatron, merely due to the desire to free Starscream from the chains that enslaved him. There had to be a way to break that bond… there had to be.

He felt the grogginess of the second consciousness linked to him stir, and he immediately turned his attention away from those dark thoughts and back to the warmth of the brand new bond linking them. He watched with adoring optics as Starscream twitched and then onlined his optics lazily, blinking up at him as his face came into focus. "Hi." Skyfire said softly, smiling as he felt the bond stir with warmth and joy. "That was…quite something."

Mmmhmmm. Came the contented reply as Starscream lightly stretched almost like a cat might, settling himself comfortably back on his chest. You're sure you've never done that before?

"Uh yeah." Skyfire flushed. "Other than that one time with you before… I didn't exactly run into very many mechs I wanted to… ah… you know."

Hmmm. I'll have to teach you a thing or two then. Starscream practically purred with delight, optics twinkling down at him. You really don't know what you're missing.

That made Skyfire choke up a bit. "Ugh… please don't hint at how many mechs you've been with. I'm sure you're more… active than I."

There's little else to do in Decepticon down time. Starscream replied wryly. Trust me, it was out of sheer boredom and the need to satiate ourselves, not out of emotional attachment.

"Yeah… TMI." Skyfire groaned, rolling over much to Starscream's disappointment as he was dumped rather ungracefully onto the floor. "Where'd the sparkling go?" he asked suddenly, blinking around the room and seeing no little form anywhere.

Starscream lifted his head, optics roaming briefly, but flickering as he sought out the little one through the link they shared. Interesting… how did it get out there? His puzzled emotions transmitted through the link, making Skyfire a little anxious. It's in the recharge room…

Both of them blinked at each other, and stared at the two closed doors. There was no way the sparkling could have slipped out of the room, the doors were far too heavy for it to push open. Together they rose and opened the door into the recharge bay, peering in. Sure enough, the little one sat on one of the births, looking bored stiff. The moment they peered in, it's violet optics brightened immediately and it jumped up chattering insistently at them angrily. They exchanged puzzled looks, but Starscream moved in to scoop it up. It squeaked in protest at him, rambling off a streak of incoherent gibberish. "Boy, he's furious at you." Skyfire muttered, smiling at the indignant sparkling. "He must have slipped through the door when we weren't looking…"

Impossible. Starscream said firmly. I distinctly recall you shutting the door and starting work. And I know I placed it aside when we started… our romp.

"Then how…?" Skyfire asked staring at the pouting little one.

Dear Primus, if he sought fit to give it Warps' ability I am going to hang myself.

Skyfire blinked. "Oh dear." He muttered. "Well we can find out quickly enough. Bring it over here." He moved to the lab, and pulled out a remote scanner that he quickly programmed. Turning, he quickly ran the scan over the small figure, doing an intensive read-out of the little one's schematics. It wiggled a bit at the tingly feeling, but Starscream quieted it with a small word, watching expectantly as Skyfire uploaded the data into the main computer display. "Let's see…" They both studied the read-outs in silence, and after a moment Skyfire leaned back. "I'm not sure what to think. There's no solid warp field generator, but there is an anomalous reading here… and it's sending out pulses. It could be in development."

Starscream's shoulders sank, and Skyfire felt a groan filter through their link, despite the fact his mate wasn't broadcasting over the comm. Just great… as if it's not being troublesome enough, add to it Warp's ability and we're going to have chaos.

"Calm down, there's no knowing if that's the case or not. For all we know, there's a hole in the wall it slipped through." He patted the little one, and got a glare for his efforts. "We'll just have to watch him closer."

The little one promptly hissed at him, and crawled up Starscream's arm, curling itself around his shoulder, glaring with wary violet optics at Skyfire. However, Starscream promptly flicked it's helm with his finger. No. He said firmly. Do not do that to him. He cares about you, and he's very sorry for frightening you the other day. His optics lifted sharply to Skyfire, as he nudged him through their bond.

"I am sorry." Skyfire said gently, smiling kindly down at the little one. "It won't happen again. I do care for your father, and would never hurt him or you. Do you forgive me?" The little one regarded him warily, but after a long moment, it's fierce scowl faded and it simply stuck it's tongue out of him and then promptly yawned in his face. Skyfire chuckled. "I hope that was a yes."

I think it's all you're going to get. Starscream smirked, patting it lightly on the head. You're right… it's got a very familiar personality.

"Just what we need, two of you." Skyfire rolled his optics. "Come on… I think we both need fuel… again…. And I still need to work on installing that armor unless you enjoy being naked."

Perish the thought. Came the rather mischievous response coupled with a strong wave of emotions that made him stumble.

He shot an irritated glare at his partner. S…stop that! He shot back feeling warmth rising to his heat sinks. I need to focus! I can't do that with you teasing me.

Fine. Starscream pouted a little put off, though his optics twinkled mischievously. Your loss.

The armor installation was not a fast process, but they did take breaks, frequent breaks at that, to further enhance their newfound bond. Skyfire thought the first time would be the best, but he quickly found it was NOTHING compared to what came later. He found, much to his explicit embarrassment, that Starscream was a GOD when it came to finding his sensitive spots. Not only was he experienced to know where his buttons were, but he found new ones that were unique only to him, sending him over the edge again and again even when he thought he had no more to give. Each time they were together, he learned more and more from his mate through their bond. He could feel Starscream trying to hold it back, knowing it was things that were foreign and unfamiliar to the normally peaceful mech, but Skyfire insisted on viewing it all just the same. He had to KNOW his mate, in and out, know his flaws, what he'd been through and what he regretted. It wasn't easy, in fact most of the time what he saw sent him out of the mood to do anything more. But he forced himself through it. In return, Starscream viewed his own experiences, though they were widely less interesting, they were just as poignant especially the parts in relation to himself. Together, they shared lifetime experiences, and were not frightened by what they saw. It was a pity, Skyfire reflected after one of their numerous bouts, that Starscream still didn't have quite the senses that he could exploit. Though he had managed to apply armor to his entire chest portion by now, the new armor was not as receptive to touch as it should be, given that he couldn't accurately calibrate it to the form they were using to disguise him. Still… he learned a thing or two that had Starscream panting and probably would have had the windows' shattered had he his voice. He was even able to scrounge up a pair of red optics, which though he felt violet suited the seeker better, Starscream had been VERY appreciative of his find.

Meanwhile, as they worked on restoring his armor, there was also some unique changes to the little sparkling as the days passed. Not only did the little one seem to be growing quickly into it's body, but it's colors were changing, it's form altering, and it's chosen figure becoming more and more distinct. Therefore, when at last Skyfire finished bolting on the last piece of armor onto Starscream's leg, they both breathed a sigh of relief, as the little one applauded enthusiastically to the side. "Thank you, little one." Skyfire said, smiling warmly as the small figure jumped into the air and soared towards him on unsteady wings. He caught it, and laughed, tossing it up into the air, watching as it stabilized itself and floated slowly back down. "You're catching on quickly. You'll be flying on your own in no time I think." The sparkling simply giggled, and gave him a knowing grin. Skyfire glanced over at Starscream, smiling as his friend's familiar face smiled back at him from beneath the newly fixed helm. It hid most of his face again, unfortunately, as the scar across his face would have been a dead giveaway if Megatron happened to see him. Skyfire regretted the necessity, but knew they had to be practical. "Have you thought of a name yet? Primus, it's been months and this little one NEEDS a name."

I've thought about it. Starscream admitted, leaning forward watching as the sparkling jumped up only to give short bursts from the tiny thrusters in it's heels. But I may have to change what I picked.

"Why is that?" Skyfire asked curiously, poking the little one and getting a giggle in return.

Because, Skyfire. Starscream drawled lazily. I do believe we've mistaken the gender of the little one.

"Eh?" Skyfire blinked, and immediate turned to stare at the sparkling. "You mean you think it's a femme?"

Look at it, Skyfire… it's slim, curvy and likes to giggle.

"Well so does Skywarp but…" He grinned at the glare shot his way. "Ok, ok… there's one way to find out." Skyfire smiled, and caught the little one, gently turning it over onto it's back. "Hold still… right like that…." He carefully took a tool and gently pried the small plating off to reveal the tiny spark beating within. What had been a gentle dirty glow before when Skyfire had rescued it from it's sire's casing was now a bright and brilliant amber color. He smiled gently and looked up at Starscream, optics twinkling. "You're right. She's a she."

In that case… Starscream leaned forward and caught the little one in his hand, watching as she scrambled up his arm and perched cheerily on his head, swinging her tiny thrustered feet, her wings twitching proudly. I believe a fitting name for her would be…

He blinked as suddenly the little one vanished from his head and re-appeared giggling madly on top of Skyfire's head, swinging each foot with a 'plink' against his forehead. Skyfire sighed, smiling with a tired expression. "You're SURE she's not half Skywaps'?"

Primus help anyone who sparks with him. Starscream sighed.

"Thundercracker'd better watch out."

No doubt. Starscream blinked as the little one re-appeared without any poof, warp field, or warning, back on his head. She will be nothing but trouble.

"No doubt." Skyfire smiled. "So… a name?"

I think I've found one that fits her…. He blinked as she vanished again, only to re-appear dangling upside-down from his wing.

"Oh? What then?"