Author's Note – For "tf_speedwriting" on LiveJournal. The prompt was "ocean".

Disclaimer – "Transformers" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Hasbro, Takara, and any other related owners/distributors/producers. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.

"Sea Life"
by DragonDancer5150

Thundercracker stared out the window at the fish he could see swimming lazily by in the dim illumination of the Victory's exterior lights. His wings twitched on his back and his fists clenched at his sides as he stared hard past his own reflection into the underwater blackness and stuffed down another wave of longing and restlessness. Those were, at least, better than the alternative.

"TC."

The blue Seeker could hear the concern in Skywarp's voice. He certainly felt it across the trine bond. He couldn't bring himself to turn around. "I'm fine."

His wingmate snorted. "Like slag you are."

Thundercracker started to retort but couldn't. Skywarp was right and they both knew it. It had been steadily growing, and neither knew how much longer they'd have to wait.

Before either could say more, a sensation of approach crossed the trinebond. Thundercracker heard his wingmate shift just before the door to their quarters opened.

"Brooding again, Thundercracker?" Starscream flopped down next to Skywarp on the oversized berth the trine shared. "Get some recharge or something before you short yourself into stasis."

"Torque me."

In the reflection of the glass, he watched Starscream sit back up, scowling. "Don't you take that kind of attitude with your leader-!"

Thundercracker shifted around with a growl. "Shut it, Starscream! Don't you try to pull tha-" His words suddenly cut off with a staticky buzz and he offlined his optics, but it was too late. The room had tilted and spun in a dizzying whorl. His stabilizers only made it worse with their conflicting readings that assured him nothing was in fact moving. He fell back against the wall for support as his knee joints buckled, hands catching on the sill of the window behind him. In the darkness of his shuttered optics, he could still feel the walls closing in.

His trinemates were at his sides in a sparkpulse, each catching an arm to keep their brother from pitching to the floor.

Starscream grunted. "You're pathetic, you know that? Especially for an officer of the Decepticon army."

Thundercracker ignored the disgust in his trine leader's tone. The ill-concealed understanding and concern that flitted briefly across the trinebond told him all he needed to know.

"Leave 'im alone, Stars." That was Skywarp. "You know he's, like, claustrophobic enough for all three of us combined."

"You think I don't get-"

"I know! Me too, but not as bad as he does!"

"Stop, both of you!" The command came out a feral snarl, roughened further by the blue Seeker's internal struggle to regain his composure and get his sensor and neural nets to quit warring with each other.

To their credit, Skywarp and even Starscream relented without complaint. The two helped him to the berth, where he sat heavily. He shuddered as he dropped his face into his hands, elbows propped on his thighs and wings high on his back, flicking in agitation. "We are Seekers! We aren't meant to be grounded, fraggit! Let alone trapped beneath it!" Okay, so technically they were under water, not ground, but in essence it was the same thing – worse than "grounded" because they were in so deep, they could not even see the open sky they longed for. During the day, the sunlight filtered down but it was dim and diffuse, and at night, the ocean was blacker than space, devoid even of stars for comfort.

He felt Starscream's optics on him for a long moment before the mech hauled him back to his feet. "C'mon."

"Where we goin'?" Skywarp wanted to know.

"Out."

Thundercracker had regained enough control to online his optics once more and give his trine leader a questioning frown. "Megatron's ordered everyone to stay in the base." At least until his next great conquest idea, whenever he came up with it.

Starscream snorted. "If he thinks he can keep his top aerial forces buried down here to rust while we all go stir-crazy, he's an even bigger fool than I thought. I'll get us clearance; you two go wait at the docking lift."

Skywarp's faceplates lit up with a crooked grin, and he punched a fist in the air. "All right! Meetcha there."

Thundercracker smirked as well. He may have his issues with his trine leader as often as not, but the mech certainly had his uses . . . such as having the ball bearings to, not ask, but tell the Decepticon overlord that he was taking his trine out for a flight, and if Megatron refused, then argue with him until he relented. It was far easier to deal with being generally confined on base for a spell just because everyone was than for the trio specifically to be locked in their quarters – or the brig – in punishment because they'd been off-base without permission.

Less than two breems later, three F-15 Eagles flew in tight, perfect formation, leaving contrails as they streaked across the night sky.

Thundercracker studied the black expanse of ocean below them. On a whim, he broke formation, flaring the ailerons of his wings and tilting on an axis as he peeled away and dropped altitude. The sea air blew cold across his fuselage, the dampness in the atmosphere threatening to leave film-thin layers of salty ice over his wings and tail. The wind churned the water, making its surface ripple and occasionally break with white foam.

Over the comms, Starscream barked at him. "Thundercracker, where are you going? What do you think you're doing?"

The blue Seeker didn't bother to answer, instead allowing a low burst of rare intention – rare for him, anyway – to slip to his trinemates across the bond. He watched for a wave big enough to aim for, then dipped a wing down, the tip cutting through the churning white.

Playing.

A pause seemed to hang in the air for an instant. Then, the other two joined him, romping in impromptu sport with each other and the ocean waves.