Important: This is a sequel from my first fanfiction 'New Priorities'. If you haven't read it, this is story going to sound very odd to you. Consider yourselves warned. (And this is also the reason why the summary is so succinct: I don't want to spoil the first story if you haven't read it.)
Thank you for all the reviews on my first fic. They encouraged me to make this sequel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Also, I would like to remember that English is not my first language. If you find any grammatical mistakes, don't panic, just tell me in the comments and I will fix them ASAP.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own any transformers character. They are © to Hasbro.
[Time key: (from TF wiki)]
Klik: 1.2 minutes
Breem: 8.3 minutes
Joor: 6 hours
Quartex: 1 month
Vorn: 83 years
Chapter 1: Visit
Eleonor glanced absently through the window. It had stopped raining. The Nevada desert received scarce precipitation during the year, but it still rained once a while, especially during the winter and early spring. It was April now.
She stretched her legs under the table, and closed her laptop, giving a tired yawn. She stood and walked slowly to the main entrance of the hangar.
"Good afternoon, little one." Rumbled a deep regal voice just as she stepped outside.
Eleonor felt how all her hairs stood on end.
"Optimus!" She raised a hand to her chest, feeling her heart beating at high speed. "You are going to give me a heart-attack!"
"I apologize, it was not my intention." The Autobot leader Replied sheepishly, leaning against the hangar wall.
"What were you doing here, out in the rain?"
"I must confess it intrigues me. On cybertron it doesn't rain. And here on Earth we had the bad luck of settling down in the middle of a desert, so we don't get to see it often."
"I am sure that Ironhide is very happy with that." She giggled, remembering how the weapon specialist hated anything minimally wet. Optimus let loose a deep chuckle.
"Good for him. But still, I have read that water is a very important element for every living being on this planet, and I wanted to know more about it."
"And you will, in a few days." She replied with a knowing smile.
"What do you mean?" He asked curious, with a tilt of his head.
Eleonor's expression softened as she inhaled the clean and fresh air after the rainfall. She worked in the laboratory with Perceptor and helped Ratchet with everything she could, but Eleonor had also taken the duty of teaching the Autobots about Earth. From culture to science. Of course they could search things in the Internet, but they still needed some help to relate concepts. For example, in this particular case, Optimus knew very well what water was just by typing it into Google, but how could he understand the influence that water had in living beings, climate, geography, etc?
"Water brings life." She said with a mysterious aura. "You'll see. Just be patient."
The Autobot leader nodded and continued to stare at the distance. The sun was peeking out from behind the dark clouds again, pouring its light over the reddish rocks and dust that composed the landscape. Eleonor was also looking at the beautiful post-rainfall scenery, although she could not help scrutinizing the skies every time she looked to the heavens. Her expression changing into resigned sorrow as she looked back to the ground. The gesture didn't go unnoticed by Optimus.
"He will visit some day." He said sympathetically.
Eleonor felt a sharp pang inside her.
"He better not..." She whispered, although even she didn't believe her words. "Earth is packed with resentful Autobots waiting for a chance to get revenge on the Decepticons." The Decepticons had revived Cybertron successfully using a recreated Allspark, but had exiled the Autobots to Earth after that. Millions of years of war could not be easily forgotten. "He would be an easy target."
"He had never been an easy target, even outnumbered." Chuckled Optimus, and he was silent for a while before speaking again, remembering how things had ended. "It has been still, a most favourable outcome of the war. Cybertron is safe. Earth is safe, as is human kind. And as long as we don't cross paths we both would be safe. Although I still worry about the Earth governments. Some of them are not very pleased with our presence here. And I don't want to cause trouble."
"Hmm..." Hummed Eleonor as she fell in deep thought for some seconds. "What about the Moon or Mars? They are not very far for your spaceship technology, and you don't need air or water. You won't be our guests, but our space-neighbours instead." She said.
"You want us to leave?"
"No, no, Optimus. Please don't get me wrong." Suddenly, she felt horribly for what she had just suggested. "I was just stating a 'plan B' strategy... oh Primus, what was I thinking...I didn't mean it like that..."
"Easy, I know you didn't mean it like that. Don't worry." He said with his reassuring baritone voice.
"Please, Optimus. I know it is selfish to make decisions based only in one person but... " She had a lump in her throat by now. "The Decepticons left... if you and your Autobots leave too... I don't know..."
"Shh, it's alright." He didn't let her finish. "Don't worry." He gave a small smile. "Besides, I made a promise that I intend to keep."
"...Thank you..." She said with a brief smile. Optimus smiled back, and they continued admiring the landscape.
::Optimus, Ah have somethin' on the radar.:: Informed Jazz through the comm. link.
::Human, Autobot or... Decepticon?:: Demanded to know the Autobot leader.
::Ah don't know yet.::
::Who is on patrol around the perimeter of the base right now?::
::Mirage and Warpath.::
::Warpath? I thought he was scheduled the next week.:: Asked Optimus in disbelief.
::Ironhide was scheduled today, but it was rainin', so he literally begged Warpath to exchange one day of his patrol duty. And ya know Warpath is not the kind of mech who minds getting wet or dirty, so he agreed.:: Explained Jazz.
::This could be a problem. Inform them of the incoming unknown entity, and tell them to not engage in combat unless necessary. Specially Warpath.::
::Yes, Sir. Jazz out.::
Optimus sighed audibly through his vents. Warpath was an Autobot, but he was more violent than many Decepticons. That, combined with his huge size, heavy armor and very heavy firepower made him a fearsome mech, even more than Ironhide himself. And the worst thing was that, unlike Ironhide, he had some discipline issues, and sometimes was difficult to control, especially when Decepticons were involved.
Eleonor saw the Autobot leader tense as he stood. He was silent for some seconds, and she knew that he was speaking through his comm. link with someone. His face-plates were set in a grim expression.
"Please, Eleonor, go inside and take cover. There is something approaching and we don't know yet what it is." He said.
She was about to respond when she felt her smartphone vibrate inside her pocket. She unlocked the screen. A message had arrived. It had no sender. It's only content was a drawing. A star.
"Optimus!" She tried to say but she was cut by a familiar roaring of engines above them.
"That Pit-spawned son of a glitch! How dare he come here? I'm going to make him scrap!" Bellowed a deep voice not very far from them. A fearsome tank was approaching.
"Warpath, hold your fire! That's an order!" Commanded Optimus. Eleonor flinched at the imposing tone of the Autobot leader. He didn't usually use that rough tone on his troops.
"Are you serious, Prime? First you gave them our planet and now you are going to give them our base on Earth?" Retorted the tank, as he raised his huge turret and aimed, firing a row of three blasts to the seeker that was circling the base high in the air. Eleonor gasped horrified as the jet easily barrelled and dodged the incoming fire.
"Stop, please!" She cried.
"I don't take orders from a human!" Snorted the tank as he fired more blasts to the sky.
"But you take orders from me! And I command you to hold your fire!" Roared Optimus as he grabbed the tank's cannon turret and pushed it down to prevent him from shooting to the sky again. "You are spending three days in the brig for this insubordination. Do you want your cannon dismounted too?"
Warpath groaned but ceased his fire, transforming back to mech mode, his turret cannon still protruding from his chest.
"Everyone hold your fire." Repeated Optimus to everymech that had came outside the base to see what happened.
The distinctive beige jet with black markings was still soaring above the base, with an innocent aura. Eleonor could not stop staring at him. After a while, he nose-dived to the nearest landing platform and pulled out at the last moment, transforming mid-air with a swift and elegant motion and landing neatly on his raptor-like legs. His trademark landing.
"It's him..." Whispered Eleonor for herself. She could not believe her eyes.
The seeker stretched his wings and smirked evilly to the Autobots that were glaring daggers at him, their discontent written on their face-plates.
"Hello, Prime. I see that you still have discipline issues among your ranks." He chuckled with malice.
"Alone in an Autobot base, surrounded by angry Autobots, and you still have the urge to piss them off?" Retorted Ratchet, appearing from the hangar.
"What can I say? I have some discipline issues myself." Shrugged the seeker with a sly grin.
"Starscream!" Beamed a small voice from within the crowd. Eleonor darted across the forest of mech legs, heading for the landing platform.
"Well, I see my little pet has not forgotten me!" He teased as she saw her running for him. He felt a small pang in his spark as he felt a little dejavú. The last time she had intended to run to him like that in the Autobot base she had been shot. She almost died that day.
He took a step forward and crouched, actually feeling relief when she practically jumped on his left servo, he stood, curling his right protectively around her. Almost everymech flinched at the sight of the fragile human surrounded by the dangerous claws of the seeker, but Optimus had not objected, and the woman seemed at ease.
"How could I ever forget you, Sir?" She asked, back to her formal self, her eyes still focused on him. Actually, she didn't want to look at anything else at the moment.
"Of course you couldn't. You are my loyal assistant after all. Despite been surrounded by Autobot filth for three years." He smirked with his arrogant attitude.
"What brings you here, Starscream?" Asked Optimus, approaching. His tone cautious, but showing no hostility.
"Can't I come and visit my fellow Autobots once a while and check how's doing my little pet?" He teased. He knew it hurt Optimus more than Eleonor to call her 'pet'. "By the way, are you feeding her right? I think she has lost weight..." Added the seeker, shaking her slightly in his servos to emphasize his point. Eleonor just chuckled at the funny remark and grabbed a claw for balance.
"Just don't get yourself in trouble while you are here. You know the rules." Warned Optimus.
Starscream rewarded him with a sly grin and was about to return his human to the ground when he heard the loud whine of a weapon capacitor been loaded. And it had to be very big because it almost sounded like Shockwave's. His seeker sensors sharpened in a nanosecond and he was instantly aware of the incoming attack. The seeker spun around and crouched protectively over Eleonor as the blast passed right behind him, scorching the edge and flap of his left wing.
"Warpath!" Bellowed Optimus, his patience lost.
But before the Autobot leader could do anything, the seeker had left the young woman safely on the ground beside him and had jumped over the huge tank, sinking his clawed feet deep into the armor.
Warpath, still in his alt-mode, could not reach the seeker because he was perched over him. So, he transformed, only to find himself pinned to the ground when the transformation ended, face down. He heard Starscream's null-ray unsheathing and his weapon capacitors whining very close to his head.
"Starscream!" Roared Optimus. This was getting deadly serious.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk..." The seeker shook his helm in disappointment, ignoring Optimus. "First you ignore a direct order from a superior..." He growled low. "...And not happy with that, you scorch one of my wings..." He teared some cables in Warpath's flank with his clawed foot, earning a pained howl from the mech. "...Most importantly, endangering a human in the process..." He hissed menacingly, sinking his claws deeper in Warpath's armor. "...I should end you, right here, right now. But I'm sure Prime would be annoyed with that. And even I know it's better not to piss off your leader..."
"I was aiming for you, not the human!" He retorted, trying to ignore the pain from his flank.
Optimus and Ironhide appeared from each side. Starscream looked at them and nodded in silent reply, getting off the pinned mech as the Autobot leader and his weapon specialist grabbed him.
"Move out!" Roared Ironhide, dragging Warpath in the direction of the brig. If Ratchet wanted to repair him it was going to be there. It was not a life-threatening injury after all.
"Anyone else wants to disobey a direct order from me?" Asked Optimus to the remaining mechs on sight. Silence was his answer. "Good. Now, back to your own business!" He bellowed, his patience lost for the day. Slowly, most of the present mechs disappeared from sight, back to what they were doing before the show.
Starscream hissed, his combat sub-routines deactivating and focusing his attention now in the damage reports and pain errors across his HUD. His left wing hurt. He turned back to see how was Eleonor, and found her exactly where he had left her on the ground. She was very still with shock written across her features.
Eleonor knew that Starscream was a warrior. Of course she knew. But she had never seen him actually in combat. She was stunned by his deadly, precise and quick movements. His cold expression. He could have finished Warpath right in front of everyone before any mech could react. He was not feared by Autobots and Decepticons alike for nothing.
"Are you alright?" Asked the seeker, with a tilt of his head.
"Y-yes... a little shocked..." She said hesitantly, coming out of her momentary trance. "Oh my god, your wing!" She said suddenly, noticing his left wing. "Does it hurt?"
"A... little..." He replied, wincing slightly as he tried the flaps and found that they were no longer working. The damage was not serious, but it really hurt his sensitive wings.
"Starscream, let me see that." Said Ratchet, coming closer and pulling out his scanner. The seeker complied, although a little reluctantly. "It's not grave. And I have to repair that glitch-headed tank first or the rest of the base is going to think that you are my favourite."
"And am I not?" He teased trying to forget his pained wing with his sarcasm.
"I am sorry, Starscream... But I have a good idea." Said the medic, raising a servo.
"What now?" He groaned.
"Eleonor will start your repairs and when I'm done with Warpath I'll come to check them out and finish what's left. I have been teaching her the basics of Cybertronian medicine, and she is most qualified to do a small repair like that. You will find that she is quite competent." Explained Ratchet.
"Making yourself useful in my absence, huh, little pet?" He teased, looking incredulously to the young woman that just blushed slightly.
"Eleonor, do you remember when we repaired Silverbolt's damaged wing?"
"Yes." She replied with a nod.
"This is just the same. The equipment is still at the same hangar. Go there and start the repairs." Ratchet pointed to the hangar and left, headed to the brig.
Starscream offered his servo and Eleonor climbed without hesitation.
"Are you sure you can repair a seeker wing?" He asked, narrowing his ruby optics.
"My master would never tolerate self-doubts in his assistant." She smiled, her eyes burning with determination. The seeker remembered that phrase. And also remembered her determination.
"I have the best pet." He grinned, patting her head with a servo. Eleonor just smirked at his antics.
Starscream left Eleonor on the ground and scanned the hangar. It was spacious and no other mechs were there. The young woman went to a corner and picked up a box with some human-sized tools for Cybertronian repairs and a small step-ladder.
"Could you please transform back into your jet mode so I can reach the damaged area better?" She asked, polite as always.
Starscream nodded and crouched, transforming just in front of her, this time a little slower due to the pain. Eleonor stared in awe at the fluid motion of panels and machinery and heard the distinct humming of the transforming gears. It amazed her, no matter how many times she watched. The jet smiled inwardly sensing her intent stare.
Eleonor placed the step-ladder near the left wing and climbed, holding the tool-box. Now she could see very clearly the extent of the injury. A good portion of the flap plating was melted beyond repair and needed replacing. The jet flinched slightly as she placed a hand on the wing, letting out a small hiss.
"I am going to disconnect the pain receptors in the area while I work." She informed, as she opened a panel and connected a small datapad, pressing the commands to shut-down the pain receptors in the left flap. The jet relaxed visibly, sinking slowly on his tires as the pain errors ceased to pop up on his HUD.
"Now... that's better..." He sighed in content. Eleonor smiled back and continued with the repairs. Picking up a new rag she started to clean the scorched area with a sterilizing solution. "Every time I come to the Autobot base they try to ground me." He groaned.
"I hope that doesn't keep you from visiting in the future." She said with concern.
"You'll have to make it worth it." He teased back playfully.
Eleonor smiled as she continued with the repairs. She dismounted the melted flaps, and worked to replace them with new ones made from a standard alloy. In a couple of days, Starscream's frame would assimilate the substitute alloy and replace it with his own Cybertronian alloy, using the replacement as a mold.
"I'm done here." She announced after a while. "I'll connect back the receptors."
"Ready." He agreed and prepared himself to receive another cascade of errors in his HUD, but it never came. His sensors just informed him of the new piece being converted to Cybertronian metal and the little stiffness of the joint as he tried to move the flap. The young woman had done a good job indeed.
"Is everything fine?" She asked, to be sure of her work.
"It's perfect. I must admit that I am surprised. Much better than expected... In fact, start packing your things. I'm firing Scalpel and taking you with me back to Cybertron." He joked, earning a content chuckle from the young woman.
Eleonor took the opportunity and ran a hand over the repaired wing. The jet tensed briefly but relaxed again, leaning into the touch. She smiled briefly at the reflex. The seeker would never admit it, but she knew he liked the caressing on his sensitive wings.
Still smiling, she descended the ladder and crossed the room, passing under the plane and running a hand on the underside of his right wing now. The jet hissed low, trying to suppress his engines from purring.
"What are you doing?" He asked intrigued. Eleonor came back with a bucket filled with water and a big sponge.
"Have you seen your underside?"
"Hmm...no..." He hummed hesitantly as he activated some peripheral cameras and sharpened his sensors. "...Damned mud-ball planet!" He exclaimed, realizing what the small human was referring to. His underside was all splashed with mud due to his neat landing over the wet ground. "This base is in the middle of the desert and I still have the bad luck of-" He was cut mid-sentence as the soft soapy sponge splashed on his undercarriage, making him jump in surprise.
With a hand caressing the warm metal and the other one washing off all the mud with the sponge, Eleonor proceeded to clean the underside of the seeker's wings and belly. The jet went absolutely silent and she felt him sinking on his tires.
Starscream relaxed slowly, feeling the post-combat tension fading away with the mud. The beige seeker was a fearsome mech. Both his raw strength and his sharp mind were something to fear on the battleground. And he loved the pure terror that the mere roar of his engines inspired in his enemies.
But with Eleonor it was completely different. He didn't have to pretend or prove anything. She respected him just because of who he was. She had worked with him in the Nemesis' laboratory for a long time. Everything he commanded, she did without hesitation, never questioning him, never doubting of him. He didn't even have to shout or impose himself. Just request it, and she did it. And she was always happy to comply. He loved the feeling of blind faith and trust deposited on him, as well as her deep respect and obedience.
Starscream had come to understand some time ago one difference between Decepticons and Autobots. The Decepticons fought to destroy. And what they failed to destroy one day, it didn't matter because it could be destroyed another day. But the Autobots fought to protect, and they never gave up because if they failed to protect something one day, it was lost forever. That simple fact had made the Autobots stronger for a long time.
Of course he was not an Autobot and would never be one of them, but he still found a comfortable sense of peace at the thought of just protecting her from any harm. He still didn't like humans, but she was the exception. She was worthy in his opinion, and had proven it vastly in the past with her loyalty and her sharp mind. And the most important thing: she cared. For everyone, but specially for him, he knew it.
Screw the rest of the world. He was just plain happy to visit her. He was Megatron's Second in Command, he didn't need excuses.
"I can't believe it." Said suddenly a new voice.
The beige seeker snapped out of his momentary trance as the Autobot medic entered the hangar and saw the scene before his optics.
"What!" The jet said. "I don't like been filthy."
Ratchet smiled briefly as he approached.
"Do you know that you were actually purring?" Inquired the medic.
"What?" Starscream's plates shifted briefly in an attempt to transform but went back to their place as his sensors informed him of the small human presence still below him. "That is not true! I do not purr!"
Ratchet smirked and send him a video file through the comm. link, showing Starscream that it was true, indeed. His engines were purring loudly as Eleonor was caressing and cleaning the underside of his wings when the medic entered the hangar.
"If you ever show that video file to anyone I will tear you into so many pieces that not even tuna cans could be made with your remains..." He hissed dangerously.
"Don't worry, I'll list it under the 'patient confidentiality' label in my data-banks." He said dismissively waving a servo in the air. He approached to the repaired wing to take a look at it.
Eleonor meanwhile had finished with the cleaning and patted affectionately on the jet's flank with an apologetic smile.
"I'll talk with you later, little pet." He hissed again, now in Eleonor's direction. She shrank a little but continued to smile with no fear.
"Well, this is looking really good." Said the medic, inspecting Eleonor's work. "I don't need to make changes. Good job, Eleonor." He stated, sub-spacing his own tools and heading for the exit. "See you later, you oversized kitten!" He teased and exited the hangar quickly, as the jet snarled and unsheathed his null-ray and fired a low-powered blast at Ratchet's feet, missing him by centimetres.
Once they were alone again, Starscream transformed back to mech mode and stood proudly, stretching his wings.
"I am sorry, Sir." Whispered a tiny voice apologetically from the floor.
The seeker glanced down and frowned slightly, he offered her a servo to stand upon, as picking her up might intimidate her. He was a little annoyed, but he would never take it out on his small human. And still, she climbed with confidence into his grasp. Starscream remembered how she respected him without showing fear at the same time. He raised her to optic level and regarded her with a scowl for a moment.
"So, making it worth it?" He said suddenly, his scowl fading into a sly grin. Eleonor's face lit up.
"Did I succeed?" She asked shyly.
"Hush you." He commanded, looking suspiciously at their surroundings. "I don't want any more blackmail material going around this base.
"No, Sir!" She nodded in content.
"Good." He smirked back. "Now, I am sure you are eager to know about everything and everyone back in Cybertron, aren't you?"
"Well, how about we go for a flight while I tell you?"
"That would be perfect." She smiled, barely suppressing an impulse to bounce in happiness. "Will your wing be alright?"
"Yes, without acrobatics. Come on."
[A/N]: Ok, this took like... forever! But I'm back. I was looking forward to write Starscream's visit. And this was sooo cute to write... I must confess that I always wanted to write a bath/caressing scene, but I was shy until today. I hope I didn't ruin it. There is no romance, I assure you, but they are so cute together! What do you think? By the way, thank you for reading!
EDIT: Uploaded again. Revised and corrected by RevieWriter (05/06/2012).