Author's Note- Hello again here is the second chapter. Special thanks to peppymint (don't worry Starscream will be fine :-)) and poisonouswaffle'n-stuffs for their reviews and to everyone who favourited or alerted this story- I am incredibly happy right now- and Kibble Beast for betaing.
Warnings- Transformer swearing (I think that's all for this chapter). Heads up for chapter four which will be quite a bit darker than preceding chapters.
Disclaimer- I do not own Transformers or its characters.
Beta- The lovely Kibble Beast.
All mistakes are my own.
P.S. I have names for the sparklings :-).
Hope you all enjoy it.
Chapter Two- Protection
Starscream was recharging peacefully, CPU and spark currently oblivious to the pain still coursing through his back armour and circuitry, and his wings which fluttered lightly in recharge. His quiet was shattered abruptly by what seemed to be Devastator jumping on his helm. On waking further he realised the noise was actually powerful blows against his sealed lab door. 'Starscream? Starscream, I know you're in there! Let me in!'
Shaking, with fear racing through his circuits, Starscream climbed to his pedes, wincing at the little shocks of pain through his system. 'Coming, Master,' he called and the pounding, mercifully, ceased. The SIC stumbled reluctantly across the room and hesitated only for an astrosecond before entering the override to unlock the door. It slid open and Megatron stalked inside. For a few moments they simply stared at each other before the smaller mech dropped to his knees.
The Commander moved then, slowly circling Starscream once before disappearing behind him and pushing the other Decepticon forward slightly to access the damage. The Seeker whimpered but Megatron shushed him and gently encouraged the wings to open out. Idiot, you should have gone to Hook. But then it was the Seeker's wings… Starscream had done a fair job but there were still a few bits- to Megatron's delight- that needed tending.
He scooped up his Air Commander easily, and again quietened the second when he gave a distressed whine. Despite Starscream's reluctance to be touched, through fear or uncertainty he was fairly still whilst Megatron carried him back to his own, now clean, quarters. There he was laid out on the berth on his front before the larger silver Decepticon crossed the room and got a repair kit out of his cabinet. Unlike Hook, Megatron believed he knew enough about wings to know how to at least touch them without causing pain. He would fix the smaller mech, then they would talk. He couldn't resist, however, pinching the Seeker's wings before getting started to hear him yelp.
Starscream stayed silent after that and kept his optics switched off. He could hear his leader crossing the room and returning to his side. He hissed slightly when he felt an unusually gentle servo stroke damaged parts of his wings. He could feel tools being applied to the damage he himself hadn't been able to reach. Desperately trying to refrain from sobbing like a sparkling, the Air Commander clenched his dental plates in an effort to stay silent. Megatron kept up a soothing stroking of the fixed parts of Starscream's wings as he worked. He could almost taste the confusion pouring off his Seeker, yet made quick work of the wings and fixed the remainder of the back plating.
Job done, the Warlord then walked around the edge of the berth, tapped the Seeker to get his attention and offered a servo to Starscream, pulling him into a less vulnerable sitting position. The Commander pulled a chair over and sat on it in a half-sparked attempt to appear non-threatening. He cleared his vocaliser awkwardly. How to begin? Perhaps an acknowledgement of the Seeker's success would put the smaller mech at his ease, at least temporarily.
'Starscream… you...' Megatron trailed off. Slag it. He stared at Starscream's now online and anxious optics. He couldn't admit to being wrong, especially to Starscream of all mechs. He sighed frustratedly and felt familiar satisfaction course through his energon when his Air Commander cringed. Ruthlessly forcing that to the back of his processor, Megatron resolved to try again. 'Starscream, I have a proposition I wish to put to you.' There, that got his point across and he, the leader of the Decepticons, did not have to admit fault.
'A proposition, My Lord?' Starscream questioned curiously, his helm on one side resting on his shoulder armour trying to read the other mech.
'Yes. Of recent you have been behaving yourself, to my knowledge, quite well.' He gave his SIC a questioning look and when Starscream nodded he continued. 'I would prefer this behaviour to continue in return for my… my protection.'
'Protection?' Starscream's optics narrowed suspiciously but there was a small glint of curiosity there. Megatron hesitated, thinking on just how to ask this without setting his screeching Seeker off and, more importantly, without tarnishing his own reputation. He stayed silent as he considered and tried to ignore Starscream's increasing unease and panicked glances at the door. 'S-sir?' Starscream prompted quietly, unusual bravery born of mounting fear.
Megatron shook himself and murmured an affirmative. What in the Pit am I doing! He growled and Starscream recoiled. 'You behave and I don't crush you, understand?'
'Yes, My Lord.'
'Good- now get out!'
Starscream was gone in an optic blink. Now repaired, he hurried to his private chambers to process what Megatron had said, what he had offered, before the larger mech had typically lost his temper. It seemed an attractive enough proposal, but how long before one or both of them slipped back into old patterns? A determined look crossed his faceplates. This time if either of them was going to be in the wrong, it was going to be Megatron.
He would make sure of it.
Megatron sat on his berth, fuming. That had not gone how he had intended it to. The Decepticon Lord clenched his fists as he contemplated what to do next. After a few kliks he snapped his claws and a terrible gleeful look crossed his faceplate. When was the last time he had indulged his second in his 'scientific experiments' on the humans? The results were always entertaining for some comic relief of the non-bashing Starscream variety. 'Soundwave,' the Decepticon commed his subordinate.
'Proceed Lord Megatron.'
'Get me…,' he thought for a moment, 'ten humans. Ones that will not be easily missed. Five females and five males.'
'Affirmative, Lord Megatron.'
The Decepticon Leader settled back onto his berth, smirking. This would shut his Seeker up for a while and confirm that he would be battle-ready when required. He never left his lab when doing 'science' and so would be out of Megatron's way. It would also put his second in an amiable mood which could be exploited. It was one area where they had common ground and so the conversation he would have to have with the little brat should be easier. At least theoretically. Megatron frowned for a moment before amusing himself with the fact that he would have an experiment to do of his very own.
Starscream sat on his berth, closed his optics, and accessed his trine-bond. Almost immediately Skywarp warped in with Thundercracker, narrowly avoiding doing so on Starscream's helm. The Trine-Leader allowed them their concerned expressions for a moment before grabbing Skywarp and affectionately cuffing him on the back of the helm. 'Be more careful. How many times do I have to tell you? You'll land on Megatron one day and then where would we be?' He pulled his chastised brother in for a hug. 'I'm the only one who is allowed to hurt you, got it?'
'Yes Star.' Skywarp murmured, snuggling into Starscream's chassis. 'Are you really ok?'
'Of course I am.' The oldest Seeker looked up at Thundercracker as he spoke and met his optics as he stroked Skywarp's helm. TC nodded once and sat down next to Starscream and leaned in close. He sighed as one of Starscream's wings wrapped round him protectively. After a while Skywarp slipped into recharge, holding tightly to his wingmate. Starscream rose with the youngest Seeker in his arms and tucked him into his berth before settling back down next to his other trinemate.
'He's exhausted, isn't he?'
'He hasn't rested since the evening before the raid.'
Starscream swore colourfully and sighed- this time it was Thundercracker's turn to offer a caring wing. 'He was worried about you. We were worried about you.' Starscream's engines vented apologetically, knowing that Thundercracker was annoyed he had cut off their link, as he as the eldest could. 'We would have borne it with you.'
'I didn't want you to. It's my responsibility, above all others, to keep you safe. That's what makes it bearable when… he's like that, knowing that you two are out of harm's reach.'
The middle wingmate nodded- he didn't have to like it, but he could understand it. He promised himself that he would explain it to Skywarp in private later and hope that the youngest mech would see their eldest's reasoning as well. 'He hurt you badly?' Thundercracker's wings flickered in almost distress.
'No, just a couple of bruises. Received more damage fighting Autobots and we both know how seldom they actually succeed in damaging me.'
The pair exchanged evil grins. Thundercracker would know he was lying, but Starscream was also sure that his trinemate would not say anything further about it unless he, the older brother, brought it up himself. Starscream was grateful for that, but remembering something, he frowned after a klik. 'He actually behaved rather oddly, at least afterward.'
'He's always behaving oddly, Screamer.' Thundercracker, despite his words, was looking at the other Seeker curiously.
Starscream paused at the nickname then shrugged it off. Can't start shrieking with Skywarp recharging. He resolved to get Thundercracker back later; perhaps he could slip some high grade energon into his drink? Mentally sniggering then shaking himself, Starscream got to the point. 'He… patched me up and offered his…' How had Megatron worded it? 'Protection.' That was it.
'Protect you how?'
'From him apparently.' Thundercracker gave him an odd look, but he continued. 'Then he threw me out.'
'That sounds more like him.' The blue Decepticon thought for a moment but didn't communicate what he was thinking to Starscream either vocally or through their bond. Surely he should protect you anyway.
Starscream could see in the other Seeker's optics what his brother was thinking and smiled- not smirked, but genuinely smiled. 'Better get some recharge,' Starscream murmured, 'another orn, another stupid-aft plan.'
Thundercracker curled his wings into his back and found a comfortable position on Starscream's berth, one servo reaching out for the black and purple Seeker already settled there and the other for Starscream. The Trine-Leader laid on his front and blanketed Thundercracker with one of his wings, the other curled comfortably into his own back armour.
Skywarp was rudely awakened from his recharge when Soundwave commed him. He sat up with a start and then froze so as not to wake the others.
Why? Skywarp frowned, optics fluttering sleepily and wings moving lightly up and down in a small stretch.
Do not question. Assistance required.
Alright- I'm coming, I'm coming. It was amazing how the telepath could convey impatience and growing annoyance in a monotone. Skywarp sighed and extricated himself gently from his trinemates. He crossed the room and turned to quickly check on Starscream: the Air Commander seemed fine and was recharging peacefully. Thundercracker will look after him.
A moment later he was gone.
He reappeared beside Soundwave who held a list out to him. 'A shopping list?' The teleporter asked with a hint of his eldest brother's inquisitiveness.
'Assumption: partially correct. List: locations of humans who will not be easily missed. Order: retrieve them.' Skywarp stared for a second, then nodded and Soundwave gave him ten jars in a special case which were both designed for the purpose of storing organic creatures that needed to breathe.
Skywarp took it and then vanished, teleporting to a park in England and, after a couple of kliks of looking at his new surroundings with a wonder bordering on the sparkling-like, began scanning for the homeless couple who slept there. Once located, he glided over to them and scooped them into two of the jars he had been given and returned them to the case. Skywarp quickly check around, then shot into the air, all the while keeping a tab on the humans to make sure they didn't terminate. Mindful of this, he quickly retrieved the other eight humans. Five of them were homeless, two of them a suicide-risk, and the last a simple loner.
He returned triumphant, his humans all alive if not well. Having secured the jars in the case so they didn't roll around, the Seeker handed the object carefully to Soundwave. The typically emotionless mech turned around and walked off without a word of thanks. Skywarp shrugged and teleported back to Starscream's berth to his still recharging wing-brothers and nestled himself back in, wings and servos instinctively seeking the touch of his trinemates.
Starscream was the next to be disturbed along with both of his trinemates half a cycle later when Megatron blew up his door.
Thanks for reading and please review- next chapter will be up soon (I aim to hopefully update weekly).
P.S. Kibble Beast and I both have uni work so updates may at times be slow when our workloads are horrific but I promise to update with as much regularity as possible. As I have pre-written and Beta'd chapters the issue shouldn't come up for a little while though.
Edited- 19.02.12 and 26.02.12
See you all again soon.