I don't know if any of my internet friends/watchers/readers remember me mentioning this story quite a few months back, but i did forget about it... then for no particualr reason i remembered it tonight, and remembered i need only do a tiny bit more to this first chapter to make it ready to post.

It's not a long chapter, and it will likely not be a long story. It's conceptual, an exploration into a 'what if' that started with the idea of Starscream raising a sparkling as his own, and the conversations he would have with said sparkling, and the reasons for doing it, and then somewhere along the way, Prowl became that sparkling. The idea was a eureka moment and everything sort of fell into place in my head from there.

So this is both fluff and probably other less fluffy things that have fandom terms that i'm not familiar with. All i know is it's going to be updated less than regularly, but if you bear with me, it will have much merit in the form of character depth, looots of character depth mixed with humour (because let's face it, how is the Decepticons raising a sparkling not going to lead to hilarity? ) but no pronz if that's what you're looking for. Maybe some awkwardness when Prowl has to learn about those things, but again, funny rather than smutty. And yes he'll be growing up in the story, the plot has a beginning to end sequence in my head, which is rare for my stories, but a good thing none-the-less.

So yea, first chapter, not very long but hope you enjoy :3 Let me know what you think, of course your alert adds will tell me of you want more X3 But this is Sparkling!Prowl, how could you NOT? XD

~Death out.

The Decepticon raiding party stepped through the rubble of the Praxus towers.

They had left nothing. Not a crystal unshuttered. Not a spark unextinguished.

At least they'd thought so.

"Starscream… what is that?" The cold, harsh words nearly made the red and white seeker flinch, but he caught himself. He always caught himself.

"My Liege?" he screeched back bluntly. What on earth was he being blamed for now? Yet another incompetence of the Decepticon warlord no doubt.

"That sound Starscream. Turn your Audio receptors back up."

Starscream did so with a frown. He usually turned them down when performing aerial raids, to stop himself from being distracted by both the explosion shockwaves and one of his wing mates' regular sonic booms.

Once he had returned the reception levels to normal, he heard it. A shuffling. A click. Something. Something not dead.

This time Starscream did flinch. He usually prided himself on his air raids. Nothing was supposed to survive him. Nothing. Apparently, whatever mech was foolish enough to survive the complete and utter devastation didn't realise it would have been easier to just die in an explosion or be crushed.

Starscream also prided himself on causing pain. A lot of it.

"Find it and terminate it Starscream, I've had enough of your incompetence for one cycle." Megatron drawled, crossing his arms over his chassis and glaring coldly at his SIC.

Starscream's lip-plate curled in response, and he turned, tearing at the rubble, turning his head this way and that to follow the sound.

When he got to a large, warped metal panel, he readied a null ray cannon and kicked over the remains of the tower wall.

For a moment, they just stared at each other. Blank surprise on both their faceplates.

Then, slowly, Starscream lowered the null ray, still staring blankly, but now in an uncharacteristically unthreatening posture.

The other clicked in response. Golden optics gazing up steadily, filled with neither fear, nor hope, nor curiosity. It looked almost… expectant.

"Starscream?" came an almost exasperated warning grumble from his leader.

Starscreams' other wing mates had by now also come over to his side, sensing something off with their commander's reaction.

When they reached his side, they gave the focus of the lead seeker's attention the same, blank looks of surprise. Megatron stomped his way over irately.

"…A Sparkling? A sparkling survived the terrible prowess of the mighty Starscream? Why does it not surprise me…" Megatron's voice was laced with cold satisfaction, as if he had just been waiting for a reason to criticise his air commander all joor.

Starscream broke his dazed staring match with the small creature to shoot a glare at his leader.

The Tri-jet stalked forward over the debris and critically examined the surroundings.

The Sparkling watched him with that same, blank, expectant look, letting out another singular click.

The Red and White seeker's optics narrowed.

"He was in a containment unit. Protected when the tower collapsed. He got out." Starscream explained flatly as he pointed to a damaged pod-like structure that had been resting under the large collapsed wall. It seemed the Sparkling had been in recharge when the attack had started.

Had he known, when he woke up, that his creator units were both dead? Had he felt them ascend to the matrix? Was his sparkling bond with them too frail for such a thing to be felt and understood by him?

Starscream knew the Sparkling continued to stare at him. It's small, well built frame (of course well built, these were the Praxus towers) had minimal armour that was already painted black and white. It's chest was well designed and protected, and it sported two sensory panels like wings from it's back, but it certainly wasn't a flying build. The only colour on him other than his golden neutral optics were the two small, spiky red protrusions on the front of the tiny helm. A helm Starscream could crush in one hand. Why wasn't it's staring bothering him more? He generally had no patience for Sparklings…

"Dispose of it, Starscream." Megatron said, sounding now both bored and slightly irritated.

Starscream frowned, locking eyes with the small life form again.

Something very strange unfolded in his processor. A possibility. Not an insane one, not to him at the moment… if he ever thought before that he might consider it, he may have thought he'd received one too many hits to the processor from Megatron, but right now, gazing down on the creature…

"Lord Megatron… I think we should keep it."

Dead, flat, suffocating silence met his plainly made statement.

His wing mates stared, gawking openly. Megatron seemed too surprised to yell at or reign abuse down on him.

He decided the lack of response was a cue to explain himself further.

"I think it would make an interesting experiment. A mech raised in the Decepticon ways. It is already of an acceptable standard of make. I doubt there would ever be a more loyal member of your army than one trained and working within it from such a young age."

The more he spoke, the more narrow Megatron's optics became. However, Starscream recognised the intrigued glow in the gun-former's gaze. It meant he was considering the implications of the proposal. It meant he was not going to dismiss it outright.

Thundercracker and Skywarp stood tense to their commander's right, ventilations shallow. Either their leader would, miraculously, grant Starscream his deranged wish to keep the Sparkling… or he would tear him to pieces for suggesting something so absurd and wasting their time.

Starscream did not break Megatrons gaze. His thoughts were focused on the ramifications of what he was suggesting. Maybe he had gone mad… but if nothing else, he was testing the waters… they may end up killing this sparkling, but if the idea was seeded in his leaders CPU…

He did not let any emotion seep through to his faceplate though…

But it's THIS one there is no point taking any old half-rate creation. This one survived. It is of respectable alloy. I will not terminate it. If it is to be, then it HAS to be this one.

Starscream refused to look at the Sparkling, which seemed to realise on some level that it's future was in question and it wisely did not move or make a sound.

After Starscream held the red and silver mech's gaze for at least 3 kliks, it seemed Megatron finally came to a decision.

"Very well, Starscream. We will raise this new Decepticon. You will oversee this project of yours, but I shall monitor it closely. Knowing your track record, I won't have you training up another insubordinate like yourself… get the rest of your trine to gather the necessary supplies to support it. I will personally revise your duties roster once you ascertain what needs the Sparkling has that you must fulfil. But consider this an additional workload for the most part." Megatron spoke succinctly. Starscream gave a single nod, faceplate impassive. He heard Thundercracker and Skywarp vent sighs of relief.

Megatron turned with one last glare and took to the air to lead the rest of their raiding party back to their headquarters.

Starscream faced his wing-mates and instructed each in the supplies he would need before the two took off with bemused expressions to gather them.

Finally, Starscream turned back to the Sparkling, which chirruped.

"Don't get too excited. I'm not going to be like your creators." Starscream muttered as he reached down and scooped the small frame into his arms.

The sparkling squirmed in his hold until it was able to look up at him.

"What are you so fascinated by?" Starscream asked more to himself than to it. It clicked twice, softly, and buried itself a little deeper into his chest plate, seeking the thrum of his spark through the red metal.

When Starscream took off, the Sparkling's calm demeanour changed.

It let out a small but piercing high pitched whistle.

Starscream winced slightly and shifted it so it couldn't see the ground. It continued to shake violently in his arms.

"Hush, I'm not going to drop you. Just don't squirm so much." Starscream mumbled to the sparkling to distract it, and himself from the task he had just set himself.

"I'm going to let you in on something, youngling. You are no experiment… I had to tell Megatron that, it was the only way he'd ever consider allowing me to keep and raise a Sparkling… it's the only way I can do it without any other Decepticons using it-… using you, as some sort of weakness against me. Make no mistake, I am not weak."

The Sparkling's shaking had quieted a little as he spoke. It made a small, uncertain noise somewhere between a buzz and a chirrup.

Starscream continued to speak his reasoning aloud to it, though he was aware it likely understood little to nothing.

"I have wondered before… I am in a precarious position. I am strong, yes. Strong enough to challenge and question the Decepticon leadership every day. I must, it is my duty, if I do not, where would we be? Megatron would allow himself to relax and wallow in his own self brilliance! He cannot see it… he takes out his ire on me, but I still remain his second in command. However… I am no fool. I know that if I perish, and that risk IS high, I will be remembered only as a traitor… an insubordinate, Megatron would see to it. He would eradicate all trace of me and my name would be left to the dust of space. But that is where you come in…"

Starscream glanced down at the bundle still pressed securely against his chest plate, it's tiny face and yellow optics nuzzled against the golden glass of his cockpit. It let out a tired whirring hum.

"I sort of decided… perhaps less than a vorn ago… that I needed to leave my mark. My true mark. Not just some idea, some famous name, but a living record of my essence. I had the urge to leave an impression in something living… what better way to truly distil myself than to shape the very existence of another, a mech who should live beyond me and remember all I taught them. Yes… you, youngling… are going to be my legacy."

Even as he spoke the soft revelation, the Sparkling's optics dimmed, and within a breem it was in recharge in the sky blue arms, vents sighing into the wind beneath it's new caretaker.

Starscream glanced down at the now calm bundle of black and white as it slipped into stasis. He wondered briefly how long it had been since it had refuelled. A quick scan told him it would be alright for at least another two cycles or so.

As Starscream neared the base in Kaon, he pinged the Decepticon communications officer. Soundwave responded immediately with an enquiry acceptance.

Soundwave, I need to speak to you, I require your specialist knowledge. Meet me in my laboratory, I am on approach at 80 Kliks, I will arrive in approximately a breem.

Affirmative. Was Soundwaves only cryptic reply. Starscream frowned in annoyance. With Soundwave, a single word could have a world of meaning, but he was rarely emotional and it was always up to anybody else to decipher his replies as best they could. He daren't give Megatron such slag of course, the blue and white communications specialist was generally upfront with their leader (mostly for his own safety, fragging off Megatron was a pastime few others than Starscream dared and survived), but even then he'd sometimes dodge one of Megatron's questions with a vague one word answer if he wasn't entirely sure of his information. It seemed to be in his core programming to confuse others on purpose.

It did make him good at his job though. Very few specialists on the Autobot side could crack Soundwave's codes or detect his sneaky methods of information gathering. Misinformation and confusion tactics worked very well to evade the brunt of the Autobot army.

When Starscream touched down outside the large bay door of his lab, he could see the glowing red visor in the shadows, waiting for him. Little else of the blue and white frame was visible beyond the light streaming from large illuminators on the building's outside. Soundwave hadn't bothered to turn on the lights in the lab. Starscream did not doubt the mech was not keen to make their meeting publicly known.

As Starscream strolled into the open bay area, the lights automatically switched on by his remote command, and Soundwave's visor glowed in a way that showed mild surprise as he noticed the thing in the air commander's arms.

"I am in need of your advice Soundwave. I am starting a new project. I will be raising this neutral sparkling as my own under Decepticon teachings. I require your knowledge in this field to assist me in the best means to meet the sparkling's requirements." Starscream said simply, flatly, no trace of his usual arrogance. Something the ever perceptive sound oriented mech picked up on instantly. He gave Starscream a calm, scrutinising look, then nodded slowly and reached out his arms.

Starscream gently handed him the small black and white frame, and Soundwave held it with obvious practiced care.

Starscream watched idly with his arms calmly crossed as Soundwave ran a few scans over the still recharging sparkling.

The Blue and white nodded again… his gesture as open to interpretation as his one line answers, and walked to the nearest clear bench top where he lay the curled up metal form down. Soundwave deployed a small uplink cable from his wrist and fastened it gently into a data input port in the base of the sparkling's tiny neck-column.

"Updating firewalls and virus protection programmes." He explained in monotone before Starscream could open his mouth plate to ask what fragging liberties exactly was he taking with his sparkling.

Starscream was glad the other had prevented his outburst. He stood stiff, arms still crossed over the golden cockpit, but tensely now. He had not had his sparkling for even a cycle yet and already his protective genitor programming was asserting itself. That was dangerous. He would have to keep a close check on that.

When Soundwave was done, he carefully disconnected and picked up the sparkling, this time doing a quick visual check on it's protoform. His gaze seemed as much curious as scrutinising.

Apparently satisfied that the small metal being was in good working order, he returned to Starscream to hand it's still recharging form back to him.

"Suggestion…" Soundwave prompted almost tentatively. The Air commander fixed his eyes unfalteringly on the red visor, expression blank, and nodded once.

"…do not force Decepticon ways on the youngling. Give it the knowledge to choose our way freely." the communications expert said quietly, voice kept controlled and flat, but Starscream could sense the blue and white's unease at his own words.

Starscream's faceplates relaxed slightly, but he did not leave Soundwave's gaze even as the other seemed to gain more confidence in his tentatively worded suggestion.

"Is that what you did with yours?" Starscream asked quietly, glancing down at the sparkling as it shifted very slightly in it's stasis while the new firewall downloads integrated into it's systems.

"They are willing to serve, not forced." Soundwave replied simply.

Starscream nodded. "That method makes more sense. Loyalty comes from belief in the cause. I will allow him to realise where his loyalties lie on his own."

Soundwave gave him another single nod… wether it was in approval or merely just an acknowledgement, it signalled something new between the two officers, an unspoken change in their usually cold and removed relationship.

"I am available for further enquiries concerning the sparkling when necessary." Soundwave said calmly as he left.

Starscream nodded in a manner not unlike the communications expert. It was as close to a thankyou as a Decepticon would ever give. But it was appreciated.

About a Breem after Soundwave had left, Starscream's wing mates returned to base, bringing equipment and energon to his lab.

Thundercracker deposited a small crib-berth, dusty and slightly charred (obviously from a previously raided youth centre), and then un-subspaced some other sparkling care equipment, like feeding tubes and a small waste-fuel management unit. He had also, much to Starscream's satisfaction, procured half an upgrade frame which the scientist-come-air commander could use to analyse and replicate when the youngling was old enough to require it's next frame.

Skywarp had been unable to find any low-grade energon and had simply stolen a large supply from a nearby neutral colony.

Starscream went about re-processing the energon into a weaker grade. Once he had set his refining system up and cleaned the other equipment Thundercracker had brought, he went to check on the sparkling, which he had left recharging on the bench Soundwave had lain him on to do his programming updates earlier.

He shuttered his optics a few times in mild confusion.

The Sparkling was gone.

Grimacing to cover up the mild stab of fear he felt, he did a quick scanner sweep of the large room.

He honed in on the small, weak energy signature. It was… behind him?

Starscream turned around to find a pair of small yellow optics fixed on his as the sparkling stood crouched, mid-way towards him.

It had been sneaking up on him… but why?

Grimace turning to blank curiosity, Starscream walked forwards and went to pick up the Sparkling…. Which promptly bolted, letting out a single loud click.

Starscream watched in mild fascination as it dove under a workbench and proceeded to crawl around the crates underneath… heading for Thundercracker.

Starscream could not suppress the small smirk that crept onto his faceplate.

:You have a sparkling creeping up on you: Starscream sent to the blue seeker through their silent trine bond.

Thundercracker, who was facing sideways to his commander, looked over at him quizzically, before turning to catch out the youngling. But the small black and white had seen him move and hidden behind a crate. Starscream could see him, but Thundercracker could not.

Thundercracker frowned over at his commander, who's smirk merely grew.

:Are you just messing with me?: the Blue tri-jet sent back irritably.

But before Starscream answered, the Sparkling had crept close enough to pounce from under the bench and cling to the tall mech's leg, clicking and whistling in what could only be described as an attempt at being fearsome.

Thundercracker jumped slightly, looking down in alarm at the black and white little creature that had attached itself to his leg. Starscream snickered, but Skywarp outright cackled as his now disgruntled blue wingmate attempted to pry the youngling from the side of his heel turbine, without much luck.

Starscream strode over and the sparkling let the other seeker go the moment the sky blue servos wrapped around his middle.

"I think we have found a suitable designation." Starscream said coolly as he took the sparkling over to the computer console. He sat at his usual chair and settled the sparkling in his lap while it clicked curiously.

He didn't say anything else as he began to construct a data entry program to document his 'experiment'. In truth it was merely a gesture to keep Megatron happy. He would request progress reports on Starscream's 'project', and to evade suspicion Starscream would have to keep a running log, but really it would only ever serve the seeker as a flippant interest in later vorns. He didn't really care about the technical ins and outs of the Sparkling's progress. This was not a formal affair to him, but he had to maintain a façade to some degree.

After a breem or so, the Sparkling began squirming in his lap and let out a small complaintative sound.

Starscream drew his focus from the console for a moment to do a quick scan and found the Sparkling's energy was nearing depletion. He scooped the black and white protoform up and went to the table where he had set up his energon refining apparatus. Enough had now been refined to a lower grade to refuel the Sparkling, so the white and red seeker collected it into a square beaker and sought one of the recently procured and cleaned feeding tubes.

Starscream's wing mates had been standing comfortably at one of the benches, idly chatting, but they both watched their commander as he deftly went about meeting the new charge's needs. Their gazes were nothing short of curious.

Apparently not noticing their stares, Starscream took the Sparkling and low grade back over to the computer and sat down again, settling the Sparkling to lean against his midriff and guiding the feeding tube to it's mouth. He made sure the sparkling was holding the small square beaker on it's own and had started in-taking before he went back to data filing.

Skywarp wandered over to read what Starscream had already input into the log, displayed on one of the several large flat screens.

"Prowl huh? Not bad. Certainly fitting, don't you think TC?"

Thundercracker, who had strolled forward to stand with his black and purple wingmate, growled slightly and gave Skywarp a small swat to the back of the helm.

"I don't see why it's so fitting. 'Brat' would be just as suitable, how do you figure 'Prowl' from ONE game of peek-a-pounce?" Thundercracker grumbled as he came up behind Starscream and glowered over the air commander's shoulder at the creature, which looked up at him with wide golden optics, small wing-like appendages twitching as it continued to suck fuel through it's feeding tube.

"It was clearly a game he is well used to. No sparkling is that accomplished without practice. I doubt he had many playmates in the Praxus towers, sneaking up on adults was likely one of his only pass-times." Starscream supplied distractedly as he continued his information gathering.

"Whatcha doin'?" Skywarp asked over his other shoulder, giving the sparkling a cheeky wink as it turned its attention from the blue seeker to him, wings twitching a little more enthusiastically at the purple flier's attentions.

"Structuring the necessary information downloads. He will need his first basic lingual packets soon. His developmental stage seems to have stretched to co-ordination and basic recognition and reasoning protocols, but not any large amount of vocabulary files, if any. Even for a sparkling with only simple emotive sound signals as his primary communication mode, he is unusually quiet."

The white and red mech explained, scarlet optics not leaving the screen,

"So what is this Starscream?" Thundercracker asked softly, slightly curious but also wary, as the Sparkling was snatched up by Skywarp when it finished it's cube of low-grade.

The air commander spared him a brief, blank glance.

Bravely, Thundercracker pressed on, looking at Skywarp as he examined the black and white creature that twittered very softly at the attention.

"Is this really just an experiment to you?"

"No." Starscream answered quietly, but did not expound.

Skywarp's mouth cocked into a crooked grin as the Sparkling squirmed slightly and he brought it a little closer to his faceplate.

"…well, you've never cared about off lining sparklings before, so I know it's not some sudden nurturing urge… is this some new means of recruiting supporters? Do you plan to use him against Megatron as a personal soldier?"

Starscream snorted inelegantly through his vents and this time took his crimson gaze off the screen to fix it coolly on his underling, head tilted in a condescending manner.

"I do not need to spend vorns just to acquire a loyal soldier to use against Megatron. Misinformed soldiers work just as well and die the same way, and they take much less time and effort. I have my reasons Thundercracker, but they do not concern you, and they certainly don't concern Megatron."

"I don't know S, that seems to narrow it down to you having unnatural genitor urges… and like TC said, that's not you, so why now, and why this one?" Skywarp said curiously as the sparkling leaned forward and bumped it's head lightly against the purple seeker's helm, putting it's small servos either side of the flier's faceplate, mapping his vents with it's tiny digits in an exploratory manner.

Starscream's wings twitched in a slightly irritated manner as he sent his other wingmate a calculating glance, but there was rarely ever any deeper meaning or malice behind Skywarp's statements when directed to his trine-mates, so he answered curtly as he focused once more on the screen.

"It is not entirely an experiment, but it remains so to a certain degree. He will be raised as I see fit, and while he will be taught Decepticon values and ways, he will not be forced into Megatron's ranks. In fact, I'd prefer to keep his contact with Megatron to a minimal. It's likely that moron will put stupid ideas in his processor and dumb down his intelligence if anything."

"I hope you don't intend to keep voicing thoughts like those aloud, or we'll be left with this thing when Megatron offlines you for insubordination." Thundercracker muttered, half-scorning, half-exasperated as he walked over to Skywarp and stood with his servos on his hips to make his own examination of the sparkling.

Skywarp held it out and turned it around as it gave Thundercracker a defiant click, yellow optics intent on the blue seeker's faceplate. The tiny servos reached out and, despite himself, Thundercracker softened his surly grimace and brought his faceplate down so the Sparkling could reach it.

The creature gave a few curious clicks as it slowly mapped his faceplate the same way it had done to Skywarp.

Thundercracker certainly did not expect the split nanoklik motion of the sparkling throwing back it's arms and smacking it's servos down on both his cheek-arches repeatedly.

He drew back with a startled yelp, a hand going to his face-plate. It hadn't really hurt, but the sting of insult was intensified with Skywarp's cackling laughter as he nearly doubled over with the happily chirruping Sparkling clutched to his chest-plate.

"Oh yea, you picked a good one Screamer! I'm all for keeping him away from Megatron for now, especially if he likes him as much as he likes TC." Skywarp proclaimed with mirth as he set the Sparkling on his shoulder. It clung to one of his tall shoulder vents, looking for all the world haughtily pleased with himself for bettering the big blue seeker.

Thundercracker growled and glared at the Sparkling.

He'd always hated younglings. This one was only re-affirming his reasons why.

Starscream smirked at the monitor, even though he paid his wing mates and sparkling's antics no attention. He could feel their varying feelings faintly through the trine bond and didn't really need a visual.

He did not doubt Megatron would be highly displeased if Prowl did to him what he had done to Thundercracker. But Starscream certainly did not plan on allowing the chance for something like that to happen. No, he would shelter the Sparkling from as much of the rest of the Decepticon ranks as he could, for as long as he could. His wing-mates influence was inconsequential. Though probably useful. Whenever he had to leave Prowl in the care of another, he would prefer one of his trine, as he could always be aware of the Sparkling's status using their bond.

Starscream didn't have to worry about leaving him with anyone though… because when Megatron decided he wanted a status report, he arrived in person to see first hand how the 'experiment' was starting off.

Starscream had just finished taking Prowl's measurements and weight, when his leader pinged.

The air commander barely had a chance to acknowledge before Megatron punched the door code and entered. It wasn't as if Starscream could have denied him anyway.

"So, Starscream, I see you've made the necessary adjustments to support your little 'endeavour'." the silver gun-former sneered as he glanced around at the new (pilfered) sparkling care paraphernalia.

The light coloured jet spun on his heel at the console to face Megatron, then his scarlet optics darted to the bench where he had set Prowl down… only to see the sparkling had pulled another disappearing act. Typical.

He supposed he could count on the thing to pounce on Megatron and get itself blown up before it was even an orn under his care.

"Where is it?" Megatron asked bluntly, crimson optics scanning the room again lazily, not seeing any sign of the experiment in question.

Starscream cycled in exasperation to cover his nervousness. He had been hoping to physically keep it from Megatron as much as possible, which was very hard when the sparkling kept disappearing at inopportune moments.

"I'm afraid he's rather good at sneaking off. Try not to shoot at something small and fast moving if it tries to p-"

But Starscream's terse warning was cut off by a high pitched whistle as Prowl jumped from behind the nearest boxes to the leader and attached himself to the black and red leg armour, winglets flapping madly.

Megatron looked down, somewhat astonished, and didn't notice Starscream tense as he reached down a massive servo and plucked the sparkling off his leg by it's scruff bar as it twittered and clicked indignantly.

Starscream bit back the urge to snap at Megatron to be careful and watched intently as the silver mech turned the small creature around in his grasp.

"A sneak-attack hmm? I see you're already teaching it your ways, Starscream. A habit I'm not sure I fully encourage."

Prowl clicked quietly in quick succession, arms and legs balled up to his chassis as he was slowly rotated in the air. He did not seem to like the inspection, and drooped his winglets to warn the large mech that if it continued much longer he'd start to vocalise his displeasure.

"I have taught him nothing as of yet. He displayed that behaviour quite on his own, much to Thundercracker's chagrin."

Starscream allowed himself a snicker as his blue wing-mate, standing to attention in the corner with Skywarp, scowled deeply and let his commander know of his irritation through the trine bond.

But Starscream's focus was quickly back on Megatron, who walked up to him and the console, depositing the sparkling in an almost bored manner on the bench beside his SIC.

Starscream lazily reached out a servo to hook two digits around Prowl's scruff-bar so he wouldn't sneak off again. His instinct was to snatch it into his arms and hold it close to his chassis to better protect it, but he couldn't allow Megatron to know how much he valued the small creature.

But it seemed the black and white sparkling was keen to stick close to his carer after being handled by the enormous silver monster that was now reviewing Starscream's new experiment data-log.

Another sneer curled Megatron's lip-plates.

"At least you are competent with designation assignment." He commented, skimming over the rest of the technical information before turning to appraise the sparkling and then his air commander with cool, calculating distain.

"Soundwave has changed you and your trine's shift rosters. The changes will apply in the next joor. Until then, you may continue settling in our newest recruit."

Megatron turned with a snide leer, still completely ignoring the other two seekers standing in the corner, and left.

All four of the room's occupants let out a collective aspiration at the dispersing of tension with their leader's departure. None of them had been aware that they had stopped ventilating. Even Prowl seemed to have been on edge in Megatron's presence.

Starscream didn't get to relax for long though. He had just turned to check the state of his sparkling's waste tanks when the door was pinged again.

Irritatingly, the mech did not wait for an acknowledgement and merely strode through the door that hadn't yet closed behind Megatron.

"Our leader tells me you have embarked on a new project Starscream."

Starscream's lip curled and he did not hide his distaste at the sound of the cold, disdainful drawl.

"Has he now, Shockwave. And it is your business because?" the air commander replied in clipped, shrewd tones.

He turned only his head to stare with crimson optics at the unrelenting, singular yellow lens. Shockwave did not have any features on his cranial unit pertaining to a facial structure. Practical was his nature, and merely practical was his build. His processor followed similar lines, with some sadism and generally hateful traits thrown in.

If Starscream was keen to keep Prowl away from Megatron, he was positively desperate to keep him out of Shockwave's company.

Despite the purple mech's lack of communicative features, his slight surprise was evident in body language as he glanced between the air commander and the sparkling he still had hooked by it's scruff-bar. The amber optic's brightness pulsed slightly as Shockwave processed what he was seeing.

"This endeavour of yours confuses more than intrigues me." He finally said in an almost bored way.

"Oh dear, the mighty Shockwave is confused, whatever shall the rest of the scientific community do?" Starscream drawled back airily, picking the clicking Prowl up and moving him to a clear bench where he could drain the sparkling's nearly full waste tanks while shielding him from the other scientist's calculating gaze.

When Shockwave replied, he made no acknowledgement of Starscream's scathing retort.

"You claim that you are going to attempt to raise a sparkling in the Decepticon ways, do you not?"

"I can see why such a simple concept would confuse you." Starscream smirked, though his back was to the purple mech.

Starscream wouldn't risk turning his back on the insufferable violet gun-former if his trine-mates weren't in the room with him.

"It is not so much the concept as the motivations. You are not known for your loyalty to Megatron, nor your devotion to long-term and labour intensive projects. I'm intrigued to know what has brought about this sudden change in you"

Starscream, to his credit, did not even twitch his wings as a spasm of annoyance passed through him at Shockwave's shrewd and undisguised suspicion.

"You may think you know me, Shockwave, but therein lies your fault as a scientist. You deign to know the outcome of an experiment before you perform it, just as you presume to know all there is to know about your fellows. Not everything and everyone fits into your perfectly known and organised world." Starscream's voice was laced with haughty disdain.

Prowl clicked indignantly as the red and white seeker lay him on his front and went about connecting the waste-processing unit. It was not a comfortable exercise for the sparkling, and Prowl was familiar with it, buzzing and kicking to show his discontent.

Barely even giving the motion a thought, Starscream stroked the sensory panels that fluttered in aggravation on the small creature's back, and immediately Prowl settled, only bothering to let out a few loud clicks of irritation as the small pump began emptying his waste tanks.

The air commander was aware of the impassionate scientist still staring at his back-plates… he could almost hear the cold, calculating processor whirring away in contemplation.

He merely took Shockwave's silence as a cue to drive his point home further. Turning to lean nonchalantly against the bench where he'd set down the sparkling, he crossed his servos over his cock-pit and sneered arrogantly at the purple mech.

"Do not presume to understand me or my methods Shockwave. You cannot be a true mech of science until you grasp, understand and live the concept of chaos theory… a feat I'm not sure your one-track processor could handle."

Apparently Shockwave had taken enough insults for now, and with a wordless glare (and even though he had no means of shuttering that single optic there was no doubt it was a glare) he turned and made his way calmly from the lab, offering his parting words as he turned his back, as if that made any sort of impression.

"I will be very interested to see how your use of chaos theory applies to this particular experiment. Assuming your subject does not best your scientific capabilities." the cold voice droned scathingly as he left, and Starscream scowled at his retreating form.

Subject besting my

Starscream whipped around to find Prowl had disconnected himself from the waste-fluid extractor and was stealthily lowering himself off the end of the bench, along which he'd trailed spent oil and energon from his open waste hatch.

Starscream cursed and threw his dirtiest glare at his two snickering Trine-mates in the corner.

He stomped over to Prowl, catching him up before he could dart away, his frown looking unfortunately similar to the sparkling's pout, which only made it harder for the other two seekers to hold back their chuckles. It became much easier when their commander ordered them to clean up the mess Prowl had trailed along the bench top.