Summary: What if Starscream was more careful about what he said to Arcee during "Partners"? What if he hadn't said anything about Cliffjumper and Arcee hadn't tried to fight him? She wouldn't have chased away the seeker, now would she?
Pairings: Starscream/Megatron, Starscream/Miko friendship, Bulkhead/Miko big-fat-crush, Tailgate/Arcee/Cliffjumper, Soundwave/Starscream/Knock Out and possibly more to come.
"I want to be... on your side."
The request was unbelievable, to say the least. Arcee's optics widened, Bumblebee raised an optic brow and Bulkhead just scoffed.
"Our side?" He snorted. "Yeah right, and I've been Lobbing with the Fallen!"
"You wouldn't betray the Decepticons." Arcee spat passively.
"Wouldn't I?" Starscream contradicted. "What have they done for me lately, beside humiliate me, spy on me, demote me?" His optics turned mournful, "Megatron tried to extinguish my spark in cold blood, and all but replaced me with that treacherous wretch Airachnid!" he snarled. "She abandoned me! Left me for scrap!" He took a shaky breath, looking Optimus Prime in the optics. "So why not rat them out?"
There was an ominous silence. There was a definite air of honesty to his voice, surprisingly. But still; decision had to be made with everyone's opinion. Arcee, Bulkhead and Prime walked a short distance away, Bumblebee staying put to watch a confused Starscream. The seeker groaned when he realised his babysitter was the sunshine yellow bug.
"He's telling the truth about Megatron trying to scrap him." Arcee began to Optimus. "I saw it with my own eyes."
"You're not saying you actually trust Starscream..." Bulkhead gave her an incredulous look.
"Trust him?" she replied. "Never. But this may be the one time our objectives aline..." She looked to their leader, who now addressed the ex-Wrecker.
"You are right to be wary Bulkhead, but I agree with Arcee." Bulkhead nodded slowly, then they walked back to their scout and prisoner. "Very well Starscream; we shall make a temporary alliance. And if your alleged intentions turn out to be true, you may become an Autobot." Optimus rumbled, voice like soft thunder.
Starscream's expression lit up, but it didn't last too long when Bulkhead and Arcee pulled out a pair of cuffs; for wrists and for wings.
Bulkhead roughly shoved the seeker into Prime's trailer, muttering about how he would never trust Starscream no matter what side he took. Thinking about it, it probably had something to do with threatening that female vermin of his! Miko, wasn't it?
A revelation hit him as he felt the trailer start moving; if he did indeed become one of them, he'd have to put up with the humans as well as mistrusting Autobots! He squirmed with internal discomfort as well as external; that was going to be a real toll on his mental well being.
Half an Earth hour later, the trailer rattled to a stop. The sound of Transformations and conversations were muffled by the sound-proof trailer. He'd miss having Soundwave around to listen in on others' oral communication.
Hm, Soundwave. The closest thing, perhaps, the seeker had to a childhood friend. The last time he'd seen him, he'd said "Thank you for listening", but hadn't actually said goodbye. He felt a twinge of regret in that revelation.
"Rise and shine Screamy!" Bulkhead abruptly opened the trailer, dragging the seeker out by his pedes.
"We're here." Arcee stated dryly as Starscream's optics darted around in panic. "Where's the ship?" He sat up on his knees and glanced around again, getting his bearings.
"It's through the arch way," he sighed. "Among the stones." Prime nodded, then began assigning posts.
"Bulkhead, Bumblebee; you're with me." he announced. The Prime stepped closer to the single femme of his team. "Arcee; remain with our prisoner." And then began walking towards the arch.
"Optimus please!" Arcee begged, jogging after him. "For Tailgate." Her determination was stone cold and rock solid. Was she really an Autobot?
"Your desire to avenge Tailgate will only continue to cloud your judgement." Optimus rumbled, then continued walking, leaving the two-wheeler alone with the immobile seeker who was currently struggling with his bonds.
"Is the clamp really necessary?" he whined. "I promise not to fly away! It's really giving me a crick..."
"... I can shove you back in the trailer." Arcee growled. Starscream groaned and went quiet. Minutes passed and Arcee began pacing, probably battling with her inner desire to go gallivanting off to fight Airachnid. Starscream watched her closely, detecting the irritation and fury radiating off of her. For Airachnid, Optimus or himself, Starscream wasn't sure.
"I'm not really so bad, you know." Perhaps a conversation would ease her a bit, if she was anything like another certain land crawler he knew. One that he realised he'd never thanked for fixing and patching him up all the time, nor had he said farewell to Knock Out. What a shame. "Megatron; he's the evil one..."
"Tell it someone who cares." She snapped.
"I would, but the only bots who would care were all murdered by my 'lord and master'..." Starscream went sullen.
"Hmph, that wouldn't happen to be the reason you betray him so often, would it?" She smirked at him. Her optics widened when Starscream nodded.
"You are not a seeker, Arcee." he stated, studying the ground. "You do not know what it's like to lose your Trine..." There was a moment of silence.
"I've lost several bots close to me."
"The Trine bond goes deeper than mere friendship and partnership!" Starscream spat, sitting up straight on his knees so he was optic level with her. "At the first chance I get, I will rip Megatron to pieces for what he did to Thundercracker!" he snarled, twisting air in his claws to demonstrate what he'd do to Megatron.
"Thundercracker, hm?" Arcee watched him grudgingly. "... Who was your other Trine mate?"
"... His name was Skywarp. He was the youngest out of us three, and do you know what Megatron did to my little brother?" Arcee gaped. "He tore off his wings! His wings! For the longest time, my poor brother was his sex toy! And for that, I will never forgive him!"
"Brother?" Arcee breathed. "Your Trine members were actually... your siblings?" Starscream slumped where he sat.
"They were..." There was silence.
"I'm sorry." He looked up.
"For everything Megatron must've done to you. I thought you were just his toady... but you're actually his victim, aren't you?" She looked at him with sympathetic optics. As he stared at them, he noticed they weren't completely blue; rings and twinges of pink light were evident in her crystal sky depths.
"Thundercracker and Skywarp were more his victims... you're right; I was his toady. I was the most cowardly out of all of us..." his head drooped down. "Thundercracker was aggressive; he stood up against Megatron, but paid the price. Skywarp was childish but brave and tried to avenge our big brother; but he was also the weakest. And all that time I just..." his crimson optics searched the dirt for some guidance on how to explain himself. "I was too scared to go and help my brothers."
Arcee stared at him. Despite the fact his wings were clamped, they drooped sorrowfully. Guilt pinged through her; he was just a kid crying for his siblings.
"Revenge, huh?" He nodded. "So we can agree on one thing..." he looked up, then jolted in surprise. She was smiling at him! She smiled ever so softly and kindly at him, just like Skyfire used to.
"Yes... I suppose we do..."
Just then, Bumblebee ran towards them, optics wide with fear.
"Bee, what wrong?" Arcee gasped as the scout grabbed her forearm, tugging and buzzing at her. "Frozen? How?" He chirped at her again. "Immobilizer? Alright, I'll call Ratchet." She did just that, also taking the time to explain the part about Starscream. Though the medic was outraged, he didn't refuse to let the seeker through the Ground bridge. He and Bumblebee dragged a frozen Optimus and Bulkhead through the bridge, while Arcee picked up the broken Immobilizer and guided Starscream into the glowing portal.
Upon arriving in the small base, Starscream made an instant note; it's got a higher roof than the Nemesis! If the Autobots allowed him to, he'd be able to fly inside the base!
"W-what is he doing here?" Starscream looked to a small platform where three humans stood stiffly; the youngest looking frightened, the eldest looking stern and wary and the second eldest looking defiant.
My, don't they make quite a Trine? He thought to himself with a mental chuckle.
"Starscream wants to switch sides Raf," Arcee explained. "He's not a 'Con any more." The youngster's face lit up behind his glasses, the elder human's tension easing away slightly. But the girl just glared harder.
"What if he double-crosses?" she spat. Arcee raised an optic brow.
"Then we'll all scrap him together." She gave the seeker a teasing wink, which he smiled nervously at. She wasn't joking.
Pretty soon, the medic had fixed the Immobilizer Bumblebee had broken, reanimating Bulkhead and Prime. Starscream thought to commend the medic on his work, but thought better of it when the medic kept glaring at him. Prime turned to Starscream, who looked down humbly.
"Starscream, I believe the fact that you did not lie to us is... a good start to our new allegiance." Starscream's optics widened and his head snapped up to look at him.
"R-really?" Optimus nodded.
"And so..." Prime brought out a key, unlocking Starscream's cuffs and unlatching the wing-clamp. "Welcome to the Autobots." he smiled warmly. Starscream rubbed his wrists slightly, then bowed. "Please, we are not Decepticons; bowing is unnecessary here." Optimus smiled. It was a comforting smile, a nice smile. One Megatron would never have even passed over Soundwave.
"Thank you... I will not fail you..." Starscream nodded. Arcee suddenly went stiff.
"Uh... not to ruin the moment, but... Airachnid...?"
"Got away." Bulkhead sniffed in irritation. They could see and hear everything, just couldn't move. Arcee growled and folded her arms tensely, the eldest human child moving to place a hand on her shoulder guard.
"... If it is any consolation, Arcee..." Starscream spoke up, watching from the corner of his optic. Arcee looked up at him. "Megatron will be furious with that eight legged wretch, not only for losing the Immobilizer, but for leaving his second-in-command with his enemy..." The two wheeler's face brightened, and Starscream gave her a wink of his own.
"Well... isn't that a spark warmer?"