Konichiwa and all that good stuff! The two of us actually live, amazing isn't it? We present for your reading pleasure our first planned out multi-chapter collab. (Yes it will have more than one chap and a real plot, aren't you all excited?)
Disclaimer: If we owned transformers…*gets dreamy look at the possibilities* Sadly, no such luck TF is owned by HasTak and various other people who's names and affiliations are unknown to us.
Time Units: klik: second, breem: minute, joor: hour, orn: day, decaorn: week, lunar cycle: month, vorn: year
Chapter 1: In Which There Are Sparklings
There was a knock at the door and the seeker sparkling, who may have been red and white had he ever been cleaned, slinked up to open it a crack, hoping that he would find some energon waiting for him today. He didn't know who it was that occasionally left him nice presents, but it kept him from starving so he was grateful.
The seekerlet snagged the half full cube and, with a wistful glance at the sky, ducked back inside. He never knew when his creator would be home and it was best to be somewhere unnoticeable when she arrived. Holding the prize to his cockpit, the smudgy grayish sparkling retreated to his one haven: an old storage closet that his creator never used.
The young seeker tried to curl into a tighter ball. His creator had brought a 'friend' home from work again, and he tried desperately to drown out the noises that drifted through the thin walls. All he wanted was to sleep…
"You slagging moron! Look what you've done!"
She towered over his terrified, shaking form. All he'd done was spill half an energon cube while trying to get it down from a high shelf.
"I…I'm sorry…" he stuttered.
A resounding smack sounded through the small room and the seekerlet stumbled backwards holding a hand to his faceplates, tears welling in his optics.
"Get the frag out of my sight!"
He scampered back to the solitude of his closet.
"Come here Starscream," the young seeker's creator beckoned to him.
She was in an unusually good mood. It had been a long time since he'd seen her smile. He cautiously sidled up to the couch she was sitting on, edging slowly closer until he could see what she was holding. A look of awe crossed his faceplates. The tiny form was perfect. Starscream had never seen a sparkling before. Barely older than a sparkling himself, he knew that this was something to protect.
"His name is Thundercracker."
Less than a vorn later their creator was back to 'normal'.
"Shut it up! I can't take the crying anymore! I swear, if you don't stop right now, I'll give you something to cry about!"
Starscream grabbed his little brother and ran to the solitude of the closet.
"Whad'ya mean he's gotta go to school?"
Starscream was peeking around the corner to see who his creator was talking to. She looked annoyed, and that never boded well.
The mech she was talking to replied, "I'm afraid it's the law. He's already behind the other younglings his age."
The seeker femme downed the rest of the highgrade cube she was holding and frowned, "Such a pain."
Starscream put his hand on his younger brother's shoulders, hoping with all his might that the sparkling would understand him.
"You gotta stay in the closet, 'k TC? You can't come out fer nothin'. Please be good."
Thundercracker looked up at him with wide optics.
"'C come too?"
Starscream bit his lip. "You can't come TC, but I'll be back before you know it, 'k?"
Their creator's impatient voice filtered into their sanctuary, "Starscream, where the frag are you? If you make me late for work, I swear I'll make you wish you were never sparked!"
Knowing his creator didn't make idle threats; Starscream hugged his little brother and dashed toward the front door.
The two young seekers were in the living room playing. It was just after school, early enough for him to be fairly certain that their creator wouldn't be back anytime soon. He was helping Thundercracker stack some empty highgrade cubes. They were the only thing plentiful enough around the apartment to use as blocks.
There was a knock on the door and Starscream carefully balanced some highgrade 'blocks' so that he could look out the peephole to see who it was. Seeing only something on the doorstep he cautiously opened the door. It was a small medkit and some energon with a note that said 'Good luck at school'.
"Leave him alone!"
Starscream stood bravely in front of his cowering younger brother, arms outstretched. He was determined that their creator would not hit Thundercracker even one more time. The grey-red youngling's resolve crumpled into a haze of pain as he was back-handed.
Starscream was smiling brightly. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been this happy.
"Today's your first day of school TC, excited?"
Thundercracker bit his lip unsure. Starscream put an arm around the younger seeker's shoulders.
"You'll be fine."
'A whole lot more fine than you have been here', Starscream thought to himself. It was such a relief that he would no longer have to spend every day worrying about what was happening at home.
The teacher raised an optic ridge at Starscream.
"Let me get this straight, you 'fell down the stairs'?"
Starscream nodded, not daring to look up from his scuffed pedes. Falling down the stairs was a perfectly logical way to break one's arm. The teacher couldn't fault him on that part of his story, could she? There must be something he'd overlooked… maybe the bandaging? But he'd gotten pretty good at that…
The teacher broke through his revere.
"And the stairs left finger-shaped dents on you neck as well?"
The young seeker just nodded mutely and his teacher sighed.
"Go see the school nurse, here's a hall pass. I need to start class."
"Bastard! Your mother's a whore!"
Starscream was sick of it. Sick of the yelling, the jeering. It was past time to do something about it. He was done running. Skidding to a stop, he took the little group tailing him by surprise as he threw the first punch.
His classmates stayed well away from the now 'psychotic' seeker, but, oddly enough, Starscream liked it better that way.
There were however exceptions…
"This is the fifth time this lunar cycle you have been in my office for fighting. What do you have to say for yourself?"
The principal had her hands on her hips and the permanent glare on her face intensified, if that was possible.
Starscream shrugged. "They started it."
"Started it how? According to several reliable witnesses, you threw the first, second and third punches."
Starscream just glared at the floor as he muttered, "My mother is not a whore."
"Class make sure your creators get the job shadow forms signed. I need to know which creator or family friend you are going with and what their job is by the end of this decacycle. Also, for those of you thinking of sneaking out of it, there will be a three page report due afterwords."
Starscream nervously chewed his lip. Talking to his creator was always nerve-wracking. Normally he got out of it by forging her signature, but if he needed to actually have someone to shadow…
Knocking softly on his creator's door Starscream listened carefully for the response to see what type of mood she was in. If she was in a good mood, she might tell him to come in, if she was in a bad mood, a highgrade cube hitting the door was the best answer he could expect.
"What the frag you want now? I paid the rent already."
Her slightly slurred voice wafted through the closed door.
Starscream grimaced, well, at least she was in a halfway decent mood, if a little tipsy. He took a deep breath and pushed the door open.
"Um, mom? I have this paper I need you to look at…"
He paused and waited for her response. She gave him a look reminiscent of the one he'd given a turbo-rat he'd found in the kitchen that morning and snatched the paper from his hand.
Her next response was not one he expected.
"Hahahahahahaha! You're kidding right? You want to job shadow me? Oh man, that's the best joke I've heard in a long time. I can see it now, the title to your report: My Creator the Pleasurebot."
More laughter followed.
Starscream collected the paper as it drifted to the floor and walked out. Time for plan B, find and follow the street cleaner.
"Star, I'm hungry." Thundercracker whimpered, rubbing his stomach.
"I know TC."
It was all Starscream could say. There just wasn't much to go around lately. The energon that had been periodically left on the doorstep for so long hadn't been seen in nearly half a vorn.
Looking at his brother, Starscream decided enough was enough. He got up and headed for the door. TC's puzzled expression followed him.
"Where're you goin'?"
"To find food."
There was a grim determination about Starscream that Thundercracker didn't dare question. Starscream was bound and determined to come back with something even if he had to steal it.
Looking through the trashcan behind a filthy bar, Starscream found several half full highgrade cubes. Well, at least it was something.
Once again, Starscream was back in the dumpster behind the filthy little bar. He'd started to frequent this one as it always had the best spoils in it. As he was finishing rummaging, something snagged the protruding edge of his left wing and yanked.
"What're you doin' in my dumpster yeh filthy miscreant?" A deep voice growled. "I been watchin' you for quite awhile, and I want yer keister outta here."
Starscream didn't give a second thought before he replied to the mech holding onto his wing.
"What's it look like I'm doing? Surviving off of your trash. You know you're throwin' out perfectly good highgrade and even some plain energon? Just cuz it's been drunk outta is no excuse for waste."
The mech holding him raised an optic ridge at him.
"You sure are a funny little seeker." Taking a closer look at Starscream the mech smirked down at him. "Just 'cause your so funny, I'll make you a deal. You start working for me, and I won't report ya to the police for stealing, I'll even pay ya a small sum of money."
Starscream yet again didn't think twice.
Letting the young seeker go, and giving him a time to show up for work, the mech shooed him out of the alley. Watching the brightly colored, if rather scruffy, youngling leave he grinned.
"Just got myself a pretty server for less then minimum wage. Should attract some nice business."
Starscream stared up at the seemingly massive school in front of him. One of the best schools in the city. If he could get into this school he could change his life around. With a diploma from a decent school he could get at least a halfway decent job, maybe even go to a university… he squashed that last thought as soon as it appeared. University was for rich mechs, not the likes of him.
When the counselor had talked to him about highschool, she had suggested this school to him, saying that she thought he had good enough grades to get a scholarship there. Starscream had applied for the scholarship and gotten it, so here he was to fill out the final paperwork.
Maybe, just maybe, he would be able to get an idea of the tuition and get Thundercracker enrolled here as well; as a private school it had gradeschool through highschool. With his new job, there was a chance he could afford it. Wasn't like he had much else to spend the money on other than energon and basic school supplies.
"I have to get a physical?" Starscream's wide opticed look as he squeaked that out made the principal laugh.
"It's standard procedure for all new students. We just want to make sure you're healthy. I understand you don't have a lot of money, but don't worry; having our own medic is one of the free services we provide to students here. You can go straight there when we're done talking. It's right in the middle of campus."
A few minutes later Starscream found himself in front of the med center doors with his fist poised to knock. He never got the chance, the doors opening automatically as his hand moved forward.
The tri-colored seeker stood there, frozen, until a voice barked "Well, what are you waitin' for? I don't have all day!"
Starscream quickly bolted into the brightly lit medical center. It was empty.
"Umm… excuse me? Sir?"
Laughter brought his attention to the open office door he had overlooked when he first entered.
"Sir huh? Kid, 'sir' is my creator. I am most assuredly not a sir. That's why I didn't join the military. You can call me doc, medic, heck you can call me the tooth fairy if you really want to. But be warned if you choose that one…" This said, the medic emerged wiping a good sized wrench with a soft cloth. "I think the last youngling that did that one is conscious again…maybe." At that the medic smirked and held out his hand to the seeker. "What's your name?"
Starscream did a victory punch in the air. He'd done it. Gotten enough money to make a down payment for TC's tuition and begged enough hours at work to be able to make all the payments. Thundercracker would be able to go to the same school he did. It did help that TC had gotten a partial scholarship.
Starscream grinned. His little brother had beat out a dozen rich kids for it too.
"It's okay TC, he's not as scary as he acts." Starscream reassured his brother as they headed to the med center for Thundercracker's new student physical.
"Are your sure Starscream? It sounds like he's throwing things in there." Thundercracker looked warily at the med center doors.
The older seeker nodded. "Oh no doubt. It's probably just Professor Wheeljack being put back together again. His classroom tends to explode every now and again."
Thundercracker looked horrified. "What does he teach?"
Starscream smirked. "Engineering."
Starscream limped into the med center and sat heavily in a chair. He was glad the medic was in his office with the door closed. The young seeker wasn't in a hurry to attract the medic's attention this orn… not when he'd just been in here for a dislocated shoulder two orns ago.
A little while later the medic came out of his office to start setting up for the day, only to stop short at the pathetic looking seeker sitting there waiting for him. An optic ridge was raised.
"You again? What could you have possibly done in two orns?"
Starscream stared up miserably at the one adult he almost trusted.
"I wasn't trying to get hurt! I-"
He bit his lip and finished the thought in his head, 'It's not my fault mom's been in a bad mood lately.'
The medic sighed, "Then care to tell me what happened?"
Starscream shrugged and then hissed when the movement pulled at his injured arm.
The medic looked him straight in the face.
"Bull. But I know you're not going to tell me anything else, so let's get your ankle fixed and get you back to class."
Starscream walked slowly home from work; today had been particularly hard. The customers at the bar were complaining left and right, and nothing he did seemed to please any of them. On top of that, either he was getting extra paranoid, or he was being followed…
Less than a klik later, his paranoia was rewarded. Out of the shadows a black and silver mech materialized.
"Well looky here. A pretty lil' seeker all alone..." The mech gave Starscream a malicious grin.
For his part, the tri-colored seeker just glared. "Frag off groundpounder."
The black and silver mech took on a wounded air. "Oh, that hurts seeker." But he didn't stay 'wounded' for long. "I like a good fighter. It makes this much more interesting."
As he talked, he kept coming towards Starscream.
The seeker had just enough time to think, 'Fraggit, this was not on the agenda for today', before the first punch was thrown.
The black and silver mech's name was Driftblade, and fighting with him soon became a regular event. He seemed to have a love of jumping Starscream on his way home from work.
The first time Driftblade brought his whole gang Starscream knew he was in deep slag. The fight hadn't been going for very long but he was losing badly. It wasn't looking like it could get much worse when the Enforcers showed up.
"Scramble!" Driftblade shouted, "Everymech for himself."
Starscream knew he had to get out of there. If he got caught by the Enforcers, well his school had little tolerance for trouble makers. At best he'd lose his scholarship. At worst, the Enforcers would snoop into his personal life and realize he was a runaway with less than legal employment…
Fighting his way through the Enforcers was very much not fun. They were everywhere and it seemed like every time you got past one, two more took his place… Cursing the fact that his thrusters were useless, thus making escape by flight not an option, he kept trying.
Starscream had a moment of panic when strong black arms grabbed him, but instinct took over and he bit down hard on the offending appendages. The mech swore and dropped him.
As soon as he was clear of the swarm of Enforcers and gang members, he ran.
The night that the new sparkling entered their lives was miserably dark and stormy.
Starscream and Thundercracker had been having a frustrating evening attempting to do their homework with the power out. Their creator came into the apartment, the door slamming shut behind her. Stomping up to Starscream she shoved something into his arms.
"Keep it out of my sight. And more importantly, my hearing."
Looking down, Starscream's jaw dropped. In his arms was a newly sparked seekerlet. It was black and purple and mewling hungrily.
Starscream glanced towards the door his creator had disappeared into. She had not seemed in a good mood; he would have to figure out how to keep the sparkling quiet until she left again. He grabbed an energon cube that still had a little bit in it and set about figuring out how to transfer it from the cube into the sparkling.
An orn or so later, he'd managed to get out of his creator that yes it was hers, no it didn't have a name, and no she didn't want anything to do with it.
Her words exactly.
The weekend was almost over and Starscream worried about what he'd do with the sparkling when he had to go to school. It was Thundercracker who came up with answer.
"Why not just take him?"
Starscream raised an optic ridge.
"Him? And like the school administration would let me."
Thundercracker rolled his optics at his older brother.
"We've gotta call him something and I refuse to use 'it'. We can get the medic to tell us when we get to school tomorrow. And tell the principal that we can't afford a sitter and mom works all day. It's not rocket science Star. Though maybe it'd be easier for you if it was." This last was added with a cheeky smile.
Starscream glared at the blue seeker.
"If you weren't holding the sparkling…" He trailed off threateningly.
TC stuck out his glossa and smiled. "Yes, yes, you'd beat me to a pulp, etcetera, etcetera…."
"So it's healthy and stuff right?"
Starscream shuffled his pedes nervously as he waited for the medic to reply.
The medic frowned a bit, "He's kind of undernourished."
Starscream sighed. "I was afraid of that. I just wasn't sure what or how to feed it. I ended up just dipping my fingers in an energon cube and then letting it suck on them." There was a pause as the tri-colored seeker processed what else the medic had said. "He?"
"Yep, definitely a mech. What's his designation?"
Starscream shrugged. "Can't you just look it up or something?"
Raising an optic ridge, the medic gave Starscream an odd look. "He's a bit young to have any official records to check… didn't your creator tell you what she named him before dumping you with sparkling-sitting duty?"
"What she named him?" The tri-colored seeker looked at the medic quizzically. "Doesn't he, I dunno, come with a designation?"
"Not quite. Usually the creators pick one within the first couple of orns, if not before the little one's sparked."
"Oh." Well that certainly wasn't going to work. Their creator didn't even want to feed the sparkling, let alone name him. Starscream was quite for a moment, thinking. After a breem, he looked up at the medic. "Could you help me think of something?"
"We can't afford a sitter right now and my mom works all day. Is there any way I could bring him? It won't be any bother, I promise."
Starscream pasted on his most sincere smile and hoped that the principal would say yes. If he couldn't bring the sparkling to school, he'd have to drop out. There was no way he was letting the little purple and black seekerlet die.
The principal rubbed his head wearily.
"Well you are one of our top students, so I suppose as long as it doesn't hamper your learning or that of any of your classmates…"
"Thank you sir, thank you! You won't regret it!"
Smiling slightly at the enthusiastic response he replied, "I'd better not."
Starscream sighed. It had been a long day. It turned out that sparklings were femme magnets. And Primus, if he didn't see another femme this side of the next millennium, it would be too soon. And it was only lunch time.
Starscream ducked into the library and sighed in relief when it looked like no one had followed him. Smiling to himself he started in on his calculus homework.
Halfway through the first problem he heard the dreaded cooing. "Ohhhh isn't that just the cutest thing! Can I hold him? What's his name? Awwww!"
Starscream slowly started smacking his head on his text book. The femmes had found him.
It didn't take long for it to get around the school that nerdy Starscream who didn't care about anything except his homework, had gotten himself a sparkling of all things. The rumor mill had a field day.
"Hey Screamer, heard you got yourself knocked up!"
"Do you even know how to take care of a sparkling?"
"Yeah, it'll probably starve to death while he does his science homework, haha."
"Leave him alone guys."
The last comment came from a red groundpounder, Sidespawn or some such. The mech was the class clown and probably just annoyed that the attention was being directed away from himself.
Starscream ignored them and went back to feeding the hungry sparkling. Not that any of those imbeciles cared, but the medic had shown him exactly how to take care of the sparkling, given him a bottle and blanket and even helped come up with a name. The teasing didn't bother him. It didn't. He hadn't had or even wanted any friends before and he sure as pit didn't need any now. Thundercracker and little Skywarp were all he needed.
"Is there anything you want to tell us? Anything at all? If there's any problems at home, your creator not treating you correctly, just tell us. We can get you out of there, somewhere safer."
Starscream glared down at his pedes. There was nothing, nothing, he wanted to tell these fraggers. They were trying to tear apart the life he'd so carefully built for himself and his younger brothers. These fraggers were not going to destroy that. So he just shook his head.
The social worker gave him a stern look.
"Think about your brothers."
Starscream gave the mech the sweetest smile he could muster.
"Thanks, but I am. We're fine, really." And shifting the recharging sparkling in his arms, he walked out. He would never let anyone take his brothers away.
So there's the first chapter. Please review. Let us know if you like it, hate it, are indifferent. Constructive criticism welcome. Flames will be thoroughly laughed at and then used to make s'mores.
Also, we read much more fanfic than we've seen or read of canon. If something we assumed was canon belongs to one of you, please let us know. We would love to credit you.
There were quite a few human terms that we were having a hard time trying to figure out how to make sound more Transformer-esque. If anyone has any suggestions, let us know.