Alrighty guys, this is it. The last chapter. It's been fun and we've enjoyed every single one of your reviews. Thanks so much for them all. Hugs and cookies for all of you. And a huge thanks to our beta Taralynden, she has been amazing.
Hope you enjoy the final chapter of Brothers:
In Which the Seekers Are Able to Fly
Starscream was on his way home from his latest 'job'.
This one had been the worst yet. The mech had given the seeker quite a few dents and from the way Star's wings felt, said mech had attempted to detach them., and a few armor plates were detached. You'd think it'd be in their best interests to keep him intact… apparently not. It was getting quite hard for Starscream to keep walking, he was sure energon was leaking somewhere from the inside of his left arm, but it was in a place he couldn't see or reach. Warnings kept popping up in front of his optics, but he ignored them. Low energy warnings were nothing new, with what few credits he could earn to buy energon, with and most of it went to his brothers.
Starscream didn't know how low on energon he actually was, nor did he realize he had been recharge walking, until he ran into something really solid. Stumbling backward, Starscream barely managed to keep himself from landing on his aft. Looking up with dim opitcs he could just make out the form of a very large black mech.
Starscream hoped his lame excuse for an apology would keep him from getting anymore slagged than he was, that was all he could force out of his vocalizer. It was probably damaged too…
The mech moved into the light, and caught Starscream's arm to steady the drained seeker.
"It's fine. You just made it easier to find you." the mech chuckled quietly.
Starscream looked up startled, "Axel?"
What did Axel want with him? Was he here to take away TC and Warp? Had someone at school found out about Starscream's job and called the Enforcers to look into it? Many more thoughts crossed the red and white seeker's mind in just a few kliks, and all of them ended badly.
Axel smiled at the worried face Starscream made. It was the 'OH FRAG! I'm in deep slag' face everyone who he'd caught violating the laws made as he brought them in for questioning.
"Starscream, relax. Focus would kill me if I brought you home all worked up in a knot." the black mech stated as an attempt to calm down the seeker.
Axel watched as Starscream's face went from worry to shock.
Of all the things he had thought Axel to say, Starscream had not expected that.
"Wha- What?" Starscream choked out, his peds nearly giving out due to lack of energy and shock, forcing him to rely on Axel to support his weight.
Axel kept a steady hand on Starscream's arm and supported the young seeker.
"You heard me. Now let's get you and your brothers home before Focus comes looking for us. I'm not sure we want her coming after you herself. You know how she gets...i. Could be bad for everyone's health. Now which way to the other two?"
Still numb with shock, and wondering what the black mech really wanted, Starscream pointed in the direction of where the alleyway was, seeing as how he had little choice in his current state.
Between Starscream's currently flighty processor and the fragged vocalizer, he couldn't get out what he really wanted to ask. Axel began to pull him along.
"Don't worry about it right now. Just concentrate on keeping coherent until we get to your brothers."
Axel kept a sharp eye out. Now would not be the time to have a run in with Driftblade's gang.
With Starscream's help, Axel made it to the alleyway where the seekers lived without any incident.
"Thundercracker? You in there?" Axel called out, hoping the blue seeker would answer him as the red and white seeker had passed out upon reaching their destination.
To Axel's relief, Thundercracker poked his head out of the small cardboard box.
"Who's there?" he asked nervously looking about trying to find who would know his name other than Starscream and Sideswipe.
Axel stepped forward carrying the now limp Starscream. Thundercracker's optics went wide.
"Star! What happened?"
The blue seeker ran out of the box and frantically started trying to get a response out his brother.
"Star! Star! Please answer me!"
Energon started to appear in his optics and spill down his face when Starscream did not respond.
Axel knelt next to Thundercracker and shifted Starscream in his arms so that he could place a hand on the distressed younglings shoulder.
"Hey, don't cry. He's just very drained right now, he'll be fine once he gets some recharge and a good meal. Now go get Skywarp, and we'll go home, where he won't have to worry about you two being slagged while he's knocked out."
"You think I'm stupid don't you?" Thundercracker gave Axel a fierce glare. "I've seen him slagged enough times to know that a meal is not gonna fix this. Now kindly frag off and I'll get him to a medic."
Axel gave a forced laugh.
"Focus would murder me. Now grab your younger brother and let's go. Starscream's not going to get any better while we sit here discussing this. We'll get him to a medic I promise."
Thundercracker nodded slowly, realizing that he had no other choice, he certainly couldn't wrestle his unconscious brother from the burly police officer, and ran to grab the sleeping sparkling from the box. Coming back out he tried to dry his optics with his free hand, and only partially succeeded. Seeing Axel had already started walking away, Thundercracker hurried to catch up, not wanting to be left behind.
All Thundercracker could think about was the condition that Starscream was in, and if he really would be okay like Axel had said. He couldn't help but feel guilty, as it was him and Skywarp that were the cause of it all. If they hadn't been around Starscream not only would have been able to properly refuel but likely wouldn't have gotten desperate enough to get a job as a pleasurebot.
The blue seeker was brought out of his musings as Axel walked up to him.
"They said you can see him now."
Starscream was still unconscious, but now it was from painkillers instead of pain. Thundercracker supposed that was an acceptable change, but still, it was never good to be unconscious for long. You never knew what could happen…
Axel left the young seekers with their brother and went to talk with the doctor.
"Thanks. I know it's late, but you know how Focus can get… especially when younglings are concerned."
The doctor chuckled at Axel's comment. They'd been friends for vorns, so he did indeed know.
"It's alright, couldn't recharge anyway. He can leave as soon as he's coherent enough to walk. I'd let him sleep out the night though, he needs it."
Starscream glared sullenly into his energon.
"So talk. I'm not sitting here all day. TC and Warp are waiting in case you forgot."
Starscream took a swift glance up at Axel, who was sitting across from him. Focus had taken the other two seeker younglings home with her. Starscream had been informed that he could pick them up 'later'…whatever that meant.
Axel sighed, "You're not gonna make this easy are you?"
Starscream stopped glaring at his energon, and redirected his intensified glare to Axel.
Ugh, the scratchy sound his vocalizer was making was driving him nuts… he wanted to hunt down the fragger who'd damaged it…
"I'm not the bad guy Starscream." The seeker snorted.
"Yeah, and I'm the tooth fairy."
"Starscream, I want you to do one thing for me. Stop being difficult for one klik, and hear me out."
The seeker muttered and went back to glaring at the defenseless energon. The fragging groundpounder had dragged him here as soon as the doctor released him, saying he wanted to 'talk'. Probably code for how he was planning on screwing up Starscream's life now that he knew…almost everything.
"The way I see it, you have two choices. I can take you and your brothers to the station. I've got more than a few things that can get you impounded and them taken away."
Starscream's look darkened. He'd known the cop was up to no good.
"Or… Are you still listening Starscream? Or you can come home with me."
The tri-colored seeker could not believe what he'd heard, as he was trying to pick his jaw up off the floor, (not that he hadn't been hit on by an Enforcer before but this was his friends' creator after all!) he said the first thing that came to his vocalizer, "Excuse me? You want me to do what? I didn't think you were into that type of thing…"
Axel raised an optic ridge at the seeker wondering how he'd jumped to that particular conclusion, and then it dawned on him exactly what the youngling's new job was and he smacked his face with his palm, groaned and tried to explain.
"No, no, no! That's not what I meant... Primus, this conversation is not going how I pictured it. Focus and I, with much input from the twins, I might add, want you and your brothers to come stay with us."
All Starscream could do was stare. Axel tried to prompt a response out of him.
"So? What do you think?"
Starscream decided to hide his confusion and shock behind his standard sneer.
"So what? You want money? Or you just want me in your debt?"
"Starscream, do you need me to repeat the first choice for you?"
"So you're blackmailing me?"
"No, I'm trying to get three kids off of the street and into a decent life. Is that a crime?"
"Well technically yes, blackmail is a crime."
"It's only blackmail if I'm getting something out of it. However, I do believe you are the one getting something out of this deal."
The seeker huffed.
"I don't need charity. We were doing fine."
"This isn't charity. And no you weren't. Did I or did I not save you from bleeding to death yesterday?" Axel's expression softened. "And there's no shame in admitting you need help. Everyone needs help sometimes. Even I have had to sit down and accept help from someone else."
"We're here. Will you get the door for me?"
Axel jerked his head at the door; he couldn't open it with bags of energon cubes in his arms. Axel had commed home to give the waiting horde the news and then dragged his captive off to the store with him. Starscream grunted assent and pushed it open.
The instant he opened the door, Starscream was dogpiled.
"Off. Getting squished." The tri-colored seeker set about peeling TC, Warp, and of all mechs…Sideswipe off of his cockpit.
"Gee Sides, I didn't know you thought of me like that." Starscream smirked seductively at the red mech and watched the groundpounder scramble away in record time.
This however did not diminish Sideswipe's enthusiasm.
"I knew you'd say yes! I knew it I knew it! You owe me Sunshine!"
Sideswipe did not get to go any further as he was decked not only by Starscream, but by Sunstreaker as well.
Sidswipe sat up rubbing his helm.
"Hey Screamer why'd you hit me?"
"Well, one: you're obnoxious, two: you were betting on my life, three: you're obnoxious and four: you just needed it."
"How come you didn't deck Sunny then?" Sideswipe whined.
Starscream rolled his optics. "Do I look suicidal?"
Sunstreaker just smirked.
Starscream slowly woke up, he didn't online his optics as he was comfortable on a warm, very spacious berth. Wait; there was no berth in the alleyway... Starscream's optics onlined immediately and he sat up, trying to figure out where he was. Looking around the cheerfully colored room, the previous day's events all came back. This was 'home' now. Whatever that meant.
As he leaned back against the wall, Thundercracker pushed at his back.
"Star, stop moving… too early…"
The blue seeker was cut off as something loud and red barreled into the room.
"Good morning Starshine! Cybertron says hello!"
"I've got to torment my new 'brother' somehow."
Sides put on his most angelic face.
"Fragger." Starscream mutterd.
"Don't let mom hear that language." Sunstreaker dully drawled as he walked up. "She'll peg you with the closest object she can find, and it's not always blunt."
"So that's where you guys picked up throwing random objects at each other from..." Thundercracker mumbled sleepily.
Sunstreaker and Sideswipe looked at each other.
"Yeah, I guess we did pick up that habit..." Sideswipe shrugged. "But at least we don't chuck sharp objects. It's usually the empty paint cans Sunny leaves around."
Starscream rolled his optics with a sigh as he moved the recharging Skywarp from on top of his cockpit to his side, Thundercracker moved to snuggle more firmly into his other side.
Things would never be boring, that was for sure.
It was hard to believe it had been a full vorn since they'd moved in with the twins' family. Surprisingly it hadn't been as terrible as Starscream had feared. Other than how Sideswipe made an aft of himself on a regular basis, it really was peaceful . It was amazing how much more efficiently one could get their homework done when there were no gangs tromping through or streetlights randomly turning off.
Sunstreaker had started teaching Skywarp to finger paint. The sparkling was in love with it. Although, the first few times, Skywarp hadn't at all liked the wet feeling. His expression had almost mirrored Sunstreaker's as paint ended up everywhere.
Thundercracker was starting highschool and Starscream was studying for the college entrance exams, now that caring for his brothers wasn't a full time job. He could hardly believe that going to the Science Academy might end up being more than just an idle day dream.
Starscream pulled himself out of his musings as he walked into the house announcing, "I'm home."
And for the first time in his life, he realized it was true.
Woot, our first decent length story finished! It's a bit over 20,000 words and I think was around 50 pages in MS word.
This story was a year in the making... meaning because both kittara and I procrastinate, that we worked on it for a month or two then the bunnies ran away for a year and came back right before she left for basic training for the Air Force, allowing us to actually finish this.
Funny thing is... this isn't the story we set out to write... the sequal (which isn't even close to ready to post unfortunately) was the fic we were origianlly going to write... lol