Disclaimer - I don't own them.
A/N - for the gestalt_love December 2010 challenge on LJ for the prompts "Aerialbots" and "Rescue Mission"
The rest of his gestaltmates cried out in protest and alarm as Fireflight ran himself headlong into the energon bars of his cell. All but Skydive, who, though wincing a little at the scorch marks on Fireflight's helm, stood quietly in his own cell, listening deep, beneath the cacophony of panic ricocheting through the gestalt bond to the bright thread that was Fireflight. Fireflight wasn't panicking. Despite being the picture of utter misery and hysteria with his pitiful wails for Silverbolt and the optic fluid streaking his faceplates, what Skydive sensed was only fierce determination. And if everyone would just calm down and think a little, they'd be able to sense it too, he thought in annoyance, as Slingshot and Air Raid began punching their fists futilely against their own bars and shouting incoherently. Damaging themselves wasn't going to help, and Fireflight…Fireflight had a plan.
Silverbolt wasn't quite so bad, yet, but Skydive could sense that he was clearly getting unnerved, pleading with Fireflight in words and through the bond to please stop, it was all going to be ok, on the verge of sobbing himself, the relentless turmoil of emotion from the other two overwhelming the bond to the point that no one could hear anyone else. Pandemonium. Skydive sighed. It was going to be nigh impossible to catch Silverbolt's attention through all that.
The door slid open and Skywarp entered, frowning, striding over to Fireflight's cell as the red jet let loose with another spark-wrenching wail and prepared to fling himself against the bars again and Slingshot's invectives reached a new pitch of mania. Skydive took a deep vent. Time for drastic measures.
"What the frag do you think you're doing? Crazy sparklings…" Skywarp muttered. "This is only temporary, I told you! Just until you've had time to think things over! Now…STOP THAT!"
Fireflight smashed into the energon bars a second time, rebounding to end up huddled on the ground in a pitiful heap, whimpering in pain. Skydive took his opportunity.
"SILVERBOLT!" he shouted, putting all the force behind it that he could. His brothers stared at him, dumbfounded. In the nanoklik while he had their attention and Skywarp was distracted with Fireflight he dove into the gestalt bond.
/Fireflight's fine. Listen/
/Decepticons aren't the only ones that can pretend/ Fireflight's thought was smug and clear in sudden silence of the bond even as he tried to get up, giving an especially pitiful moan and collapsing back to the ground. There was a flummoxed pause from Silverbolt, a moment of pure quiet and then, suddenly, he had them. Skydive had to keep himself from chortling in sheer glee as thoughts zipped between them, all five, quicker than light, weaving, woven, even Slingshot yielding, forbearing for once to tear rents in Silverbolt's mind. The grip of Silverbolt's spark through and around them was dazzling, hot and bright as a forge, and he took them all, melded them into a shining spear of light, and it was right and perfect and YES! A silent-deafening shout of joy. Skydive blinked and the world had reshaped itself, though Skywarp hadn't even finished his final step to Fireflight's cell. Target acquired.
"Dangit, kid, now look, you've gone and scorched yourself." Skywarp's voice was concerned, maybe remorseful. It didn't matter. That was Slingshot, no forgiveness there, although Air Raid's pang of sadness followed close behind. Skywarp had been their friend, so they thought, danced with them in the sky, taught them how to write "slag you, dumb bolts" with exhaust trails and waggle their ailerons in a pattern that made Starscream and Thundercracker fall right out of the sky with laughing.
/He lied to us. He lied about Wheeljack, he lied about Optimus, he lied about everything! My stupid fragging fault, all of this/ Slingshot's bitter anger at himself stabbed through them all, but Silverbolt only gripped him tighter to his spark, barbs and all. He was with them again; Silverbolt would not give him up, not for life or death or world's ending.
"Skywarp, you can't separate us like this," Silverbolt said urgently, over the continued bellowing from Slingshot and Air Raid (not so loud now, however, as to drown out Silverbolt's voice). "Especially Fireflight. Just put him with me and he'll calm down. I promise."
"Silver-bolt," Fireflight whimpered, dragging himself back to the bars (somewhere deep in the bond Air Raid cheered the performance). Skywarp looked down at him and then over at Silverbolt uncertainly.
"Fraggin' crazy gestalts," he muttered, deactivating the bars to Fireflight's cell. "Come on, kid."
It shouldn't have worked. Skywarp was much older, and trickier, and armed; he knew things about one-on-one fighting they'd never even dreamed of (next time they would pay much better attention to Ironhide) and he didn't take any chances, deactivating Silverbolt's cell and motioning Fireflight inside. Still, somehow it ended with Skywarp on the ground with Fireflight wrapped around his legs, and Silverbolt standing over him. Skywarp's expression was a little surprised, a little rueful, before Silverbolt offlined him with a helm-denting blow from his own pulse rifle. Silverbolt frowned down at him for a moment before helping Fireflight to his feet and engulfing him in a massive hug.
"Ow, Silverbolt!" Fireflight said, giggling despite his protests. "I'm ok, really!"
"Sure you are, lugnut," Silverbolt laughed, putting him down and gingerly examining one of the scorch marks.
"That was freakin' brilliant!" Air Raid shouted, spinning circles around in his cell. "Now get us out of here!"
It didn't take long to figure out the locking mechanisms, releasing the other three and reactivating the energon bars to trap Skywarp in Silverbolt's old cell.
"That all you're going to do to him?" Slingshot asked tightly, looking down at the unconscious seeker.
"He got taken down by a couple of five-vorn sparklings. Punishment enough." Silverbolt waited until Slingshot finally met his optics. "I have a feeling we'll meet again." Skydive could feel Silverbolt fighting the urge to just grab Slingshot the way he had Fireflight, knowing Slingshot wouldn't take it well. "Now…" he continued, looking around. "Next step. How do we get out of here?"
The door was firmly locked, impervious to anything they threw at it; Skywarp's rifle barely left a mark. There was a small monitoring station behind the other door. They all jammed inside and Skydive twiddled with the unfamiliar controls under the bank of monitors. If they could just see where they were, that would be something.
"Even if we do get out…what…where will we go?" Slingshot murmured.
Silverbolt shook his head. "I don't know. I didn't…I didn't even last half a breem against Soundwave," he admitted, and the shame of that diffused through the gestalt bond. They leaned back into it, with what comfort they could provide. Silverbolt gave them a small smile, although his optics were still shadowed. It had been…very unpleasant, that time with Soundwave, they could all sense that much although the rest of them had been offline for it and Silverbolt refused to tell them any details. "He knows everything about the Autobots I ever knew, right down to what Optimus likes to drink with his energon. They were right to keep us in the dark." And now they were traitors, twice over. Wheeljack, Ratchet, Ironhide, Prowl, everyone they'd ever known in danger because he hadn't been strong enough, wise enough, he'd been charmed by the seekers, too…
Skydive interrupted Silverbolt before he could continue very far down that flight path. "Got it!" he said, as the screens sprang suddenly to life, ignoring the startled looks from his brothers.
"When did you decide to start talking?" Silverbolt rumbled behind him, coming in close enough that Skydive could feel the warmth of his armor and putting his hands on Skydive's shoulders. Skydive shrugged under their approving weight.
"Finally had something I wanted to say bad enough." Skydive tilted his helm back long enough to meet Silverbolt's optics with a brief smile, before returning to the screens.
Air Raid let out a dismayed whistle. "So that's where everyone's got to."
Skydive felt Silverbolt's hands tighten on his shoulders. "What…what do they think they're doing? Wheeljack…is…he's trying to rescue us? They're completely outnumbered!"
There was no sound, but the image quality was good - they could see Wheeljack's headfins flashing, Prowl's gaze sharp and calculating even from a distance. Optimus was going to tackle Bruticus by himself, to give the others a chance to get through. Skydive felt the prick of fluid behind his optic shields.
"Silverbolt!" Fireflight had hold of Silverbolt's wing, tugging a little, bouncing up and down. "We have to do something!"
Slingshot was pacing, optics glued the screen, muttering angrily. "There's nothing we can do! We're stuck here and those stupid…they're going to get themselves deactivated! I told Wheeljack to go to Pit and he's…stupid engineer, what does it take to make him…I mean…" Slingshot's voice choked and he stopped pacing to kick the base of the console several times.
Skydive's spark beat hard within him at the sound of Silverbolt's voice. Yes. YES. YES.
"Remember when Wheeljack said not to worry about it, just give it time, we would figure it out?"
Air Raid got it right away. So did Fireflight, and the sudden smile breaking across his face thrummed through the gestalt like a star igniting. Slingshot wiped optic fluid away from his face angrily, staring at Silverbolt for a long, uncomprehending moment.
Silverbolt met his gaze, optics flaring deep and darkest blue and yet almost too bright to meet. Slingshot's puzzled look faded slowly, one corner of his mouth quirking up slightly, then the other, his optics narrowing intensely, burning with equal fierceness.
Silverbolt's grin drew them all to him, tumbling joyfully into his arms it felt like to Skydive, though they must have transformed somewhere along the way, because when they stood the walls came crumbling down.
Optimus was down again, and this time he wasn't getting up. Frag. Frag frag frag. Ironhide punctuated each curse with a blast from his cannons as he tried to keep the area around Wheeljack clear for just a little longer. Figures, the one time they wanted a big explosion and Wheeljack couldn't get the damn charges to detonate.
"One more breem!"
One more breem, one more breem. Two more 'Cons went down under his cannons. Prowl's voice over the comm cut off abruptly. He couldn't see Optimus anymore. There was a rumble and a cloud of debris, finally! But the wrong direction…Ironhide met Wheeljack's puzzled look for a moment, and then felt his spark sink in dismay at the enormous form striding across the battlefield. Another fraggin' gestalt. Perfect.
Wheeljack was yelling like a crazy mechanism behind him. "It's them! They did it! Ironhide, THEY DID IT! THOSE ARE OUR GUYS!"
Ironhide could see now, recognize the colors, the shape of a wing here and there.
"Go! GO GO GO!" he whooped, as crazy with excitement as Wheeljack, pride and wonder thrilling through him as the new gestalt being met Bruticus with a roar of challenge.
"PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!"