Title: Little Prince
Pairings/Characters: Thundercracker/Skywarp/Starscream;Prowl, OC Cloudburst, Shockwave
Verse: G1
Words: 4410
Warnings: Mild Slash. Fluff.
Summary: Starscream and his trine attend a festival to find their fourth mate and third wheel to Starscream's personal trine. However over the vorns with no sign he has lost hope of it ever happening. This vorn though, he gets an adorable surprise.
Disclaimers: I don't own anything.
Notes: Starscream does not have a scratchy vocalizer, his voice is well cultured and strong. Skywarp cannot warp and Thundercracker does not possess the ability to break the sound barrier.


"Well… you know what that meant." Thundercracker growled with a scowl aimed at the double doors the Wing Council members had disappeared through. Starscream heard Skywarp shift in the chair beside him and sigh quietly. The three Seeker Princes were sitting on their 'thrones' upon a dais with one long table reaching from Thundercracker's chair to Skywarp's.

Looking down at his hands folded on the table, Starscream murmured, "A Mate Searching festival." With crimson narrowed optics. A fourth… another to his trine… another to form the mark of royalty among the seeker kind. Oh, he hoped it was possible.

It was tradition for the royal line of the seekers to have in a sense, their own personal trine to bond with; which in essence simply gave them a higher standing and more commanding power among the politics of Vos. His Creators had been in a quatrine until their untimely deactivation from a deadly accident at a nuclear plant radiation leak on Cybertron. The explosion resulting from the leak had wiped out his three Creators and Carrier, leaving Starscream as the sole Creation of a long-standing royal line of coding. For millions upon millions of vorns, his coding line had been able to form that sacred fourth bond to form the quatrine.

Starscream feared that it had ended with him.

Finding Thundercracker had been very simple on the account that he was of a noble line of seeker coding and Starscream was often taken on trips by his Carrier Starrain to the spiral hovering tower where they resided to become acquainted with many of the seekers he later would be dealing with in the manner of ruling Vos.

One particular trip at Thundercracker's tower when Starscream had just barely upgraded into his matured seeker frame which allowed his coding to begin the Trine-Seeking Program, he had felt the connection. A burning lust tinged with the fulfilling feeling of pure compatibility.

It took them no time at all to head for the berth and they had happily joined their sparks in the blue and white seeker's room. Thundercracker's Creators and Starscream's Carrier had been overjoyed when they opened the door and found them cuddling on the berth, thankfully decent, but it was to both Thundercracker and Starscream's sheer embarrassment at the same time.

A couple vorns later Starscream and Thundercracker had taken a every-cycle morning flight over the sectors of Vos they encountered an optic-blinding flash of violet in mid-air and it was the only warning they received before the light solidified from within into an equally violet and white seeker. Startled shock and surprise had the bonded pair crashing bodily into the sudden newcomer.

Call it fate but the moment their plating touched, the burning raced through their circuits that had sent their flight paths to the ground.

They never impacted the 'ground' of Vos as it technically did not exist. A mere system of thin and simple paths connecting different floating buildings and a few large circular parks that were built out of leisure for diplomacy grounders to get around on and enjoy; otherwise it was simple electromagnetic pulls from each building and structure, as well as decorative arches that could also be retracted keeping the floating city-state from separating. Possibly the best impulse engines ever created were attached to the protective outer ring of Vos, keeping Vos above Cybertron. The upper side of the outer ring had an incredible storage of energy so that in times of peril or threat a large defensive dome of misted energy could wrap itself around the entire city-state, impulse engines and almost one hundred miles outwards from the city at the sides and the top, allowing the seekers maneuverable air even within the dome. The outer-ring itself could expand or retract within itself for construction advancements for Vos.

They had been crashing down past the impulse engines when they crested their pleasured systems and Starscream came home with two wing-mates.

Four solar cycles later Starscream's Creators and Carrier had been offlined and Starscream became the Prince of the Seekers and his wing-mates elevated in royalty as well. He would not attain the title of King until he bonded to a fourth mate.

Yet even tens of vorns later and they had never met a mech or femme who set their systems on fire the way it had with each other and create the urge to bond without a thought of doubt. It had occurred to Starscream that perhaps he should check on the youngling and sparklings of Vos or even Praxus that were nestled safe in the nests, or nurseries as they were called in Praxus. Sparklings and younglings could be cared for and nurtured by their future mates until reaching their matured frame. It had been done several times in Vosian history.

As Praxians were closely related to the Vosians, it was not unheard of to find the fourth mate in a Praxian spark. Not unheard of but extremely rare; Starscream knew of only three other Kings who had ever acquired a Praxian mate in their quatrine. In the historical records there was always great respect toward the Praxian in question and each era of the King showed advancements in Vosian and Praxian arts. Peace was a ruling hand in whatever the Praxian mate had decreed upon Vos.

They were also a terrifying weakness to the seekers of the quatrine. One had been assassinated and in a manner of joors, the King and his two mates followed in spark-rendering agony. Quoted from a historical datapad, in fact.

Unfortunately the Council scoffed at his idea to search through the nests and nurseries. They told him to go and try to locate a suitable mate, one that was already in their final frame.

It was then that this long standing argument was brought to the prospect of a Mate Search Festival that the High Council had formed many, many vorns ago when a Prince had trouble finding even one of his wing mates. It was held on one of the largest suspended ground parks so that the Praxians were able to attend the festival as well. Oddly enough, the Council had attempted to defuse him from that route as well.

Starscream tapped the arms of his chair, quietly musing on what to do with the demand given to them. Well... if the Council of Wings was impatient and wanted him to and he quoted "Get the Pit on with it and stop stalling!" unquote, (really they thought he was stalling?) then so be it. Starscream smirked, letting his smug sadistic satisfaction against the Council of Wings flow over the bond and felt the dual response of amusement returned.

This time they were doing it their way.

Five Cycles Later

Cloudburst stood before his front room's window, watching as two Praxians walked down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. One was sporting a neon orange and purple paintjob while the other had a reverse copy of the Prince's paint scheme; apparently both mechs were on their way to the Mate Searching festival on Vos. He raised an optic at the contrastingly bright colors and he knew almost 100% that the Seeker Prince would not appreciate the copy-cat colors.

"They are fools. Overeager and insincere in their desires." A smooth toned voice came from behind him and the gray and sea blue copter turned around with a smile that turned into a full-blown grin when he caught sight of his friend Shockwave.

The one optic'd bot was seated on a chair in the living room and was cradling a small bundle of thermal blankets in his arms. He looked nothing like the cold, and at times intimidating in both physical and mental aspects, scientist the public knew over the broadcast holo-screens; instead more like a normal mech. Well... at least as much as Shockwave's selectively chosen self-installed programming would allow; yet Cloudburst suspected that even that was shut-down when he stepped into Cloudburst's home.

"Oh?" Cloudburst asked simply, looking out to see another group heading for the transport docks on the edge of Praxus' border.

Shockwave's optic looked straight at him and he clarified bluntly, "Seekers prefer to seek their mates, not watch them parade like Kaonian pleasure models."

Cloudburst took the armchair next to Shockwave's and nodded in amused agreement as his pale lilac optics turned to gaze on the tiny creature in the pastel green blankets. Inside was a small sparkling with a white and black developing paint scheme appearing in patches, a majority of his malleable plating still a protoform gray. A tiny vibrant splash of color against the neutral shade and monochrome was a tiny crimson chevron with a gold base. Two tiny nubs on the sparklings back clearly indicated he had inherited his Creators's Praxian traits. Underneath the tightly shuttered optic lenses he knew were indigo optics.

"Cloudburst, it has come to my attention that you have not been to a Mate Searching festival." Shockwave said bringing Cloudburst out of his adoring study of his sparkling.

"That would be fairly true." He answered softly, looking at his friend. Shockwave was quiet for another few moments before nodding.

"I have secured reservations on one of the transport ships for you, your sparkling, and myself." Shockwave must have seen the shock on his face because Shockwave gave a rare laugh and stood up, placing his sparkling in his arms. "You're Creator was my friend and he would have deactivated me if I did not give you the chance to experience such a rare occasion of his culture. I will be by in three joors to pick you both up."

Cloudburst felt himself unable to do anything but gape as his friend simply dismissed himself and walked out of the living room and his front door. Turning his shocked gaze on his slumbering creation he finally realized what had happened.

They were going to Vos! They would see the Prince in the wiring!

Cloudburst contained a shout of excitement for the sake of his sparkling and settled for nuzzling his creation's chevron softly, smiling widely at the prospect of visiting the infamous floating city.

Starscream shamelessly ducked behind his wingmates as a burst of squeals came from a gaggle of bright-optic'd Praxians standing in one of the many paths of the festival. It was like a fair or some type of convention in the means of layout. The Prince, Starscream, would walk down the many paths for however long the festival lasted until he spotted his mate or mates. Barely out of the tent he had been in, pondering some of the seekers he had come across in the festival's proceedings, he was already being hindered and pushed at every turn.

He was rubbing his optics furiously when he peeked over and saw a vivid neon orange and purple paint scheme on one of the Praxians in the group.

That mech should be ashamed. The myriad of colors practically burned!

Sympathy traveled along the bond to him and along with it his trinemates own exasperation. They were all in agreement.

This arrangement sucked!

How was he supposed to choose his true fourth mate when every Praxian and Seeker unbonded or trined was throwing themselves at him? Shying away into the shadows of a row of tents and trusting his wingmates to hold back the crowds until he was safely retreated, before ducking into one of the tent's that had a rear flap. He simply waved away the energon confection vendor, an already mated seeker, who bowed and exited the tent with an almost irritating look of understanding.

Starscream sighed and wondered if he should risk just flying back to his palace before quickly disregarding the thought. Seekers would take the chance to perform a courting dance and he would only be in a bigger mess of trouble.

Starscream shuddered in something completely opposite of disgust as he remembered the courting dances of his wingmates. They had already been bonded but his wingmates had been insistent about courting him. Not because he was the Prince but because he was the youngest of their trio. Thundercracker had performed twice, one dance for Skywarp and then one for him. He purred replaying the video files he had recorded when they had performed for him in a duo.

Ah... the nights that had followed had been delicious.

A pair of arms wrapped around his middle and he recognized Thundercracker's deep laughter tunneling down the bond. Turning in the loose embrace, he took no time to engage the blue seeker in a heated kiss. Another pair of lips locked on his neck cables and Starscream shivered, knowing Skywarp had joined them. Starscream was just about to suggest they call this whole thing off for the cycle when a smooth intruding voice commented from the front of the tent,

"Why is it not a surprise for me to find you three like this?"

Starscream's heated systems cooled like they had been plunged in liquid hydrogen as he turned, disengaging from his wingmates. Skywarp gave him a pitiful whine as he moved a step away, systems already heated. Starscream gave his wingmate an 'oh-really-must-you?' look and spotted the speaker, Shockwave, standing at the tent's entrance.

Shockwave was the leading scientist on Cybertron; a Kaonian that had been accepted into the city-state of Praxus. Oddly enough, Shockwave was assigned a seat as one of the key ambassadors when it came to negotiations between Vos and Praxus though he had yet to make an appearance on any matters. Despite Shockwave being a grounder however, Starscream could respect the tall, imposing mech. He was a mech of science and so was Starscream, there were no restrictions of the processor unlike debates of physical superiority. However...

"You have the worst timing ever. What do you want?" Starscream snapped with a scowl on his lips.

Shockwave remained completely unfazed by the glare from Skywarp or Starscream's apparent irritation aimed at him and he answered evenly, "I don't want anything. I am here to keep a promise. As well, introduce you to a friend."

The last word momentarily stalled Starscream's processor.

A friend? Shockwave had an actual spark-beating, sentient non-drone friend? Starscream briefly wondered if fire was falling from the sky yet.

His attention refocused on the tent entrance as a gray and blue copter peeked in with a bundle of thermal blankets in his arms. He watched Shockwave turn at the rustle of the plastic flap and he held out a hand to the copter who accepted it with a small smile. Starscream observed with curious attentiveness as Shockwave led the copter over to them and released the copter's hand as soon as he had. Giving the one optic'd bot a smirk he actually received a chilled glare in response.

Chuckling inwardly he turned his optics back on the copter and found the violet optics staring at him in awe. Before he could feel annoyance at the prospect of another fawning mech, as soon as he met the copter's gaze he had dropped his own optics respectively.

He didn't squeal his praises, he didn't mindlessly worship... oh he could learn to like this one.

"This is Cloudburst, Creation of Solarflare." Shockwave introduced. Starscream raised an optic ridge at the odd introduction. A name and his Creator's name? Shockwave never did anything without due reason. The designation Solarflare was tucked away into a secure file for later analysis and research. Cloudburst murmured a soft greeting, shifting the bundle in his arms.

Starscream had to physically hold out an arm to keep Skywarp's curiosity from poking his nose into the blankets. "I," He started warning his purple wingmate over the bond to be polite, "am Starscream." Gesturing to his wingmates respectively he introduced them, both dipping their heads in greeting, "These are my wingmates, Thundercracker and Skywarp."

Starscream knew he shouldn't have underestimated Skywarp's curiosity. Some days he swore it could be used as a weapon. Astro-seconds after the official introductions, Skywarp blurted out a question with full curious sincerity, "Do you have a sparkling?"

Cloudburst shuttered his optics in shock and Starscream had a sudden concern that the copter would decide to leave but Cloudburst seemed to recover and looked down at the bundle, his violet optics softening, "Yes. One hundred and seventy-four vorns(1)."

*Skywarp! Don't scare him!* Thundercracker scolded over the bond as Skywarp squealed, lunging past Starscream and into Cloudburst's personal bubble and begged to see the sparkling.

Starscream felt pity for the poor copter. He was looking quite frightened and Starscream wondered if he was going to bolt. Shockwave's large frame behind Cloudburst hadn't moved, knowing that Skywarp would not dare harm a sparkling as per every seeker's coding toward the Creations of Cybertron, but he was eyeing the purple seeker with a very strong dislike in his golden optic.

Starscream rolled his optics, striding forward and laying a hand on Skywarp's air vent and pulling him back to a more moderate distance from Cloudburst. Clearing his vocalizer, he asked politely, "May we see your sparkling, Cloudburst? It would be an honor."

Cloudburst hesitated looking at Shockwave; for reassurance, perhaps?

Starscream leveled the mech with another smirk which was coldly ignored. Shockwave nodded, a soft intelligible murmur barely reaching his audials. Cloudburst immediately looked more at ease and he smiled happily as he pulled back a section of the blanket, revealing the sparkling's face to the open atmosphere. Shockwave murmured something else a bit louder but as Cloudburst rubbed the crimson chevron to rouse the sparkling out of recharge Starscream found himself staring at the slumbering white face-plates with an odd hesitance to look away.

"Come on, little one." Cloudburst cooed, "Someone wants to meet you, Prowl."

The sparkling stirred a bit and a tiny white fist escaped the folds of the blankets to rub at the shuttered optic lenses as the sparkling chirped softly. Starscream felt his vents hitch at the adorable sound. Then the fist fell away as two orbs of indigo blue opened, staring straight through his crimson ones and something deep in his programming clicked. A beautifully warm sensation encompassed his spark, threading itself tightly in his processor so completely that even without a photo capture Starscream knew even he could remember every intricate detail of the sparkling before him. Abruptly the universe narrowed down; only his wingmates and this sparkling were registering in his optics as everything and anything that mattered.

*Starscream... is it...*

*Oh, it is! It is!*

*We found him.* Starscream marveled with wide optics, staring into the pools of blue light. There was no searing heat that flushed his systems like it had with Thundercracker and Skywarp but the bursting affection pouring into his spark, filling his core with a soft instinctual love was more than convincing.

Shockwave saw the abrupt shift in the seekers and wondered if he believed in fate after experiencing so many clear coincidences throughout the vorns after meeting Solarflare. He did not have to know the concepts of a Prince's mating programs to know that Starscream was going to either request to hold the sparkling, or even grab him without a word. He would rather avoid the consequences of that latter route if possible.

Shockwave quickly commed Cloudburst, pinging him urgently. Once the communications link was accepted, he warned his friend carefully. +Cloudburst, do not be alarmed if Starscream reaches for Prowl.+

+W-What?+ Was the confused, edging on alarmed, reply.

Shockwave placed a clawed hand on Cloudburst's shoulder in an attempt to sooth the confused copter, +I believe that Prowl is their fourth mate, Cloudburst.+ He said cautiously, aware that Cloudburst could react any way. He wasn't sure that Cloudburst understood anything outside of the public, well-known perspective of what was entitled to a Prince's mates. Shockwave hoped he could explain everything in a way that did not require him to lie. If Cloudburst refused to let Prowl be seen by the seekers... horrible things could follow.

Vos could very well sever ties to Praxus and with the floating city as isolated as it was from the other city-states, they may force their hand into matters to keep negotiations open with the Seekers. Cloudburst may have Prowl taken away from him forcefully and given to the Prince in hopes of avoiding separation. Shockwave knew that to lose Prowl in such a manner would hurt Cloudburst beyond repair.

So, he was surprised when his friend hesitantly shifted Prowl in his arms and asked quietly, "Would you like to hold him, Prince Starscream?"

Prowl was quickly taken from Cloudburst's hands and nestled into a secure cradle made of Starscream's arms. Shockwave did not need to check whether Starscream or his curious and eager wingmates were doing anything Prowl did not like and looked down at Cloudburst. His friend seemed relaxed if a little wary, seeming to not know what to do with his hands as they clenched open and closed at his sides with his lilac optics on his sparkling. He smiled behind his face-plate and tightened his clawed grip on Cloudburst's shoulder to keep him calm. +Be assured that when he is in their hands, he will never be harmed or in danger of injury. They would not allow harm to any sparkling.+

Cloudburst met his optic uncertainly and Shockwave could only offer him another brief squeeze on his shoulder. It was enough.

Starscream cradled the sparkling close to his cockpit and cooed to Prowl as Skywarp traced a gentle claw down the sparkling's nose.

Prowl wiggled his nose at the touch, comically crossing his big optics at the clawed finger before turning his stare up at them with all the curious innocence of any sparkling. Then he reached up a tiny open hand and trilled happily, smiling brightly as he experienced a brief wave of something warm and comforting. It did not linger long but left its imprint upon his undeveloped processor that would last throughout vorns to come.

The sparkling remembrance of the feeling had fluttering questions in his processor that he could have no hope of answering in his current state and ability of memory file storage.

Who were these three new mechs? Why had he not seen them before? What was that feeling? Why did they only have two wings and not many like Carrier? Why did they seem familiar? The conclusion of his sparkling mind was they gave him a warm feeling in his spark, almost like his Carrier did but it was... different; in a good way! He would forget this conclusion in breems but it would reappear again and again with more and more detailed thought as he upgraded.

Prowl chirped and whistled at the new winged mechs, reaching up to them excitedly and squealed with chirruping clicks when he was offered a blue clawed finger to cling to.

Who were they?

Prowl did not know it yet but his simple actions were further cementing the love that all three seekers already held for him and when Shockwave and Cloudburst returned to Praxus with Prowl, it was with the sworn promise from Starscream that they would always be welcome in Vos and from that astro-second forth, under his protection.

Cloudburst chuckled when Prowl wriggled in his arms restlessly as he and Shockwave walking up the ramp of the shuttle. It was empty seeing as they were the only two who knew that the Mate Searching was over, it's purpose fulfilled. It would head back to Praxus and then return as ordered by Starscream. Cloudburst stopped just at the large open doorway when a series of footsteps caught his audials and turned around as Shockwave continued on board. He saw the three seekers plodding to the base of the ramp, obviously having successfully navigated their way unseen.

They were eagerly watching the sparkling in his arms, the purple one bouncing on his pedes as if it would help him see better. Cloudburst chuckled at the antics; after Shockwave had explained the basics of what exactly had happened he had warmed up to the idea considerably.

At first he had worried that it would keep Prowl from experiencing a more variety filled life but when Shockwave explained that it was a matter of spark compatibility, rare in these times that a mech found his 100% compatible match, and that when Prowl upgraded into his mature frame he could ultimately decide not to bond with the seekers, he had accepted the conditions of the relationship that would grow between his creation and the Prince and his wingmates. As odd as it might be.

Shockwave had rather aggressively been quick to secure Cloudburst with Prowl no matter the circumstances and Starscream had reassured them both that he would not allow or demand Prowl to be separated from Cloudburst or vice versa.

Cloudburst was happy, Prowl was looking around with his big cobalt optics and chirping happily, and he suspected that Shockwave was somewhat happy as well.

The seekers? Well... Cloudburst had a feeling that Prowl would be quite the spoiled sparkling if they had anything to say about it.

Cloudburst indulged the seeker trio and tilted Prowl just a bit in his arms and Prowl giggled and waved his closed fist in the air, looking at the three seekers with a sweet smile. Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp smiled right back at him and waved.

"Bye Prowl!"

"See you later Sparklet!"

"We'll visit you soon!"

Prowl returned the sentiments with a warbling trill and Cloudburst waved farewell himself before retreating further into the shuttle as the ramp pulled up. Seating himself beside Shockwave, he nestled Prowl's helm under his chin. Shockwave absent-mindedly reached over and offered a claw to Prowl. Prowl accepted the claw and cooed, nibbling on the tip, yet all the while his optics were on one of the window ports that showed the clouds rushing by.

Cloudburst laughed, "These will be interesting vorns to witness!"

(1) About one and a half years old in human years; mind wise.

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