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V1 'Fire in the Mirror

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It had been three straight weeks since they had bought in the Mercenary Jetfire. And all this bastard had done is stand at Megatron's side with that creepy mask of his. Throw Prime. Or stare.

Just dead on stare at Starscream. And He KNEW it was at him. Even Skywarp had noticed it! And the damn familiarity of the mercenary was enough to drop Starscream into a sea of hated nostalgia.

Which means it shouldn't be surprising when the mysterious merc finally approached him in the halls on his way to his room. He hated how familiar the merc was seeming with him. "Starscream." He calls to the Air Commander, speaking as neutrally cold as ever.

As Starscream is currently looking for a room to take refuge in that the giant can't follow. Alas. There is no where he can go that Jetfire can't go. "What is it. I'm busy. Are you here to scold me for making you miss the little yellow bug on the field?" Starscream mocks. Yes mock the bastard who threw Prime. That's ingenious.

"Who is Skyfire?" There is no indication to his voice of positive, negative or even curiosity.

Starscream huffs loudly. "The last body guard. But he betrayed us for the Autobots. There history lesson over."

There's a considered pause. Before Jetfire moves on past Starscream. Then turning and suddenly stating. "My rate for you is three and a half cubes." He faces forward once more. Continuing to walk as Starscream freezes in place and then trails behind him now.

"Half a cube more!?" Starscream nearly shouts. Keeping his voice low, can't let other mechs here such talk.

"Half a cube less, Starscream." Wonder of all wonders. The Merc sounds amused and it adds a surprising warmth to his voice.

Starscream is stuttering over his words. Trying to save face. Then puts a fist to his mouth to clear his voice. "Fine. I will accept and consider it. But, now I have questions, Jetfire." He grins and is paused in the middle of the hall. "And. HEY! Hey! Stop walking!" He starts running after the large mercenary who does not stop but slows himself.

So Starscream could catch up. He finally turns to look down at him. "Yes?"

"Why? Why give me this offer." Starscream asks, trotting beside him. "And further to it! Why are you always staring at me. Do you realize how unnerving you are, merc?"

And with a note of amusement, Jetfire gives a simple. "Yes." Then continues on with, "I'm giving you this offer because I don't like Megatron. And watching you has told me you are ambitious and you are smart." A pause. "Perhaps spiteful. You think you can do better? Prove it." Its not an answer to the second question. Not quite.

Starscream's optics glitch a second. The chance to have an ally who is just as tired of Megatron as himself. And all he has to do is prove it. "Very well. Then I shall pay you to listen to my whims, Jetfire. And to start it off, you will be paid to get me material."

"Ah, So there is a plan. I was wondering." Is he teasing? Though his tone is dry. "And if I'm caught gathering material for you?"

"Then simply state I'm sending you out resource gathering. Pick up anything that looks useful among the things I ask for. Act as annoyed as possible with me." Then there's a pause and a much too casual. "All that will likely come of it is I'm beaten."

Jetfire is nodding all up untill that end. Turning his head slowly. Stopping dead in his tracks of walk. Eyeing Starscream causiously. "He beats you?" Spoken as neutrally as ever, his voice soft almost. But something dangerous lying in wait beneath it.

"Yes. Because I'm insubordinate and Megatron is an aft." Starscream is suddenly very aware of how unusual a thing he has said is. But he's certain the Autobots themselves have their fair share of beaten underlings. Right? Maybe not Optimus Prime doing the deed himself but, surely someone must of.

"You know." Jetfire starts to say. Cold and measured. "There's quicker ways to take Megatron down." Oh, he'd known something about Megatron smacking around his subordinates. But this is different. This is Starscream.

Starscream is silent a moment and then he grins. "What do you have in mind, big guy?"

Jetfire flicks his wrist. A hard light blade shimmers to life, a brilliant deadly blue and as long as Starscream's very own arm. "That you let me handle it."

Starscream looks int the hard light as it shimmers in his optics. His spark feels tight suddenly. Strangly familiar. "Very well. I'll let you handle the mess."

"I'll need an opportunity. A battle, maybe." Despite the cold distance, he sounds so much more furious. Even more so then with the humans were threatened. This is a silent icey anger. One that can kill, surprisingly powerful for surging on behalf of a mech that he seemingly barely knows or has talked to . "Then you'll have his head."

Starscream nods wordlessly. Confused, enticed. Perhaps frightened at the whole prospect. "I will set up opportunity. We will likely be setting out for more Energon in another Earth week or two."

Jetfire nods. Sharply. And with another flick of his wrist the blade is gone. "I won't let him lay another finger on you while I'm here."

Why. The whole question burns in his memory. Why. But he'd rather not know the reason here. He simply stares up at the visor of Jetfire's mask and can't help now but wonder. Where did his Skyfire go? After the explosion. Where is his Moon.

"I'll see you later, Star." Its a slip of the metaphorical tongue. So sharp, cold and driven he turns. So angry, so furious. He wants to cut Megatron down where he stands at this time. But. He can be patient.

Starscream feels his chest plate get tight on him. Not literally, but it feels like its enclosing around his Spark and he runs the opposite direction of Jetfire. To his room. To Skyfire's datapad. All that remained. Working on the transwarp. Bury himself in work rather then think of the impications here.

Even if Starscream will not take notice. The experimetnal transwarps swallowed Skyfire in its explosion. Only to have this Jetfire mercenary show in his stead. This giant Jet. Replaced the Shuttle. And Starscream refuses to see the dots connecting them.

Its obvious. He has a perfect version of Skyfire here. Now. On his side. But its not HIS Skyfire, is it? Starscream starts to wield together pieces of the start of the transwarp. Carefully. Delicately.

From then on. Jetfire is seen near the Command Trine in the recreational room. Some assume to keep eyes on Starscream's schemes, for Skywarp. It simply weirds him out.

Starscream merely states its an arrangements. Jetfire merely snorts a laugh.

While Skywarp stares at him, then turns to Starscream. "What did you do?"

"Why so accusatory? I have simply taken advantage of our new mercenary. Is that so wrong, Skywarp? We now have a new, "friend."

"He's creeping me out!!" Skywarp whines.

Jetfire seems mildly amused.

"Oh don't be such a sparkling. He's fine. Me and Jetfire here are simply.. Getting to know eachother. I'm second in command, he's a body guard. It's normal."

"Yeah, he's a bodyguard against your schemes!"

"Now who said that?" Jetfire asks flatly.

Skywarp only stares blankly once more. Thundercracker hides his laughter in his Energon cube.

Starscream pats Jetfire on his side. "Oh let me have some good faith. I'm trying to be better. And perhaps with the big guy, I will be."

Jetfire freezes up at the contact. The first time anyone, let alone Starscream, has touched him in some time. His mannerism will go unnoticed mostly. Starscream pauses briefly starting at him. The tension in the air, and removes his hand from him.

There's a soft venting and Jetfire casually and suddenly asks. "You stick with your Trine through thick and thin, Right?"

Skywarp with indignant noises. "Yeah."

All Jetfire responds with is, "good."

Starcream eyes Jetfire to that, curiously. Figuring he's just testing where loyalties lie. He then takes his own cube and drowns himself in drinking down his Energon. Before he drops his cube and leans forward on the table. "Ugh, remind me to stop doing that, Thundercracker. It gives me headaches. Like your constant thundering." He then stands alittle unsteady on his pedes. "I'm going for a fly."

"Its not constant." Thundercracker states with no malice and then with a concerned. "Be careful."

Jetfire stands with. "Do you want me to come with you." He makes no indication to why.

"Blah. Come if you like. I'm mostly scanning the area for intruders. Boring routine."

Jetfire nods, he'll follow regardless. The unreadable bastard.

Starscream heads to the flight pad and takes off into the air. Then to the desert region of land near them. He alts and begins the so called routine.

Jetfire is right behind him. The massive, imposing jet stricking a silhouette against the sky. Its nothing like Skyfire's alt-mode. Jetfire appears to be a warbuild, through and through. And yet.

Starscream vents out and goes to land in the desert. Waiting on Jetfire to follow. They do have plans to talk over and better be it then so far from prying Cossettecons.

Jetfire coasts down behind him, landing with a soft thump. "This planet is beautiful, isnt' it?"

Starscream stares at him, while turning to face him fully. He then looks to his surroundings. "It has a charm. Nothing like Cybertron."

"No. Cybertron has no life left in it. This planet is bursting with it."

"Bursting with life doesn't always equal beauty, Jetfire." Starscream looks up at the sky adjusting his optics at the clouds. "But I suppose I see your point."

Skyfire never gotten to see Cybertron so lifeless. Not at the turning point of the war. Strange to think of him here and now.

Jetfire huffs. "I'm sure you didn't land just to chitchat."

"No. I think we are in good position to talk about our plans. I've stockpilled some Energon cubes for you so I have payment stored away." He pauses. "And with that we have a week left till our next run. Maybe sooner."

"I'm ready. Are you?"

"Almost. I still need some parts. I have a plan that might help you rid of Megatron with some ease. If my calculations are correct, and they are. My transwarp I'm developing can be detonated and send him to the void!"

Jetfire hesitates there. Just a moment. "Or transport him some where entirely else in space and time. You hinge too much on uncertainties."

"Where ever he goes at least it's not here!"

"He could frag us up in the past." Is Jetfire's retort. The first time Jetfire has swore in front of the Air Commander. "And what if he finds a way back."

Starscream snorts. "Then he'd have to deal with his past self who's too truely stubborn to share a timeline." Starscream is silent a moment considering the second question. "If he comes back we deal with it."

"It would be alot easier if we just decapitated him like I first suggested and you agreed to."

Starscream knows that's the proper idea. That's the easier one. "And if he finds out what you're up to? What if he some how finds out you're a traitor working for me? what if they all get wise to it!?" Suddenly its not just Starscream's physical safety on the line.

"Then I kill him anyway."

The other fear Starscream has in all of this. Is the fear that when Megatron is gone, who will come for him next. What if he doesn't want him gone. "Why are you helping me?" The other fear in all of this. "Skyfire. Why are you doing any of this for me?"

Jetfire jerks just enough to his name that its noticed. A flinch that only confirms it.

"You are Skyfire then!" Starscream almost sounds angry. "Are you my Skyfire? Or someone else's? Because if you are mine, I shot you so many times, Sky. Why would you ever care."

"My name is Jetfire!" His voice is rough and there's anger there too. But its broken. An old anger. Worn and welled used like old grief. There's something sharp in how his mask glares down at Starscream. Looming with that red visor nearly aglow. Skyfire the scientist, such a contrast to Jetfire the mercenary. Jetfire the warbuild. Jetfire who can kill. "And you, Starscream, are dead."

Starscream glares at his visor. Seeing only himself, too much of himself. All his anger building in his frame. "Jetfire, then." He says nearly venomously. "And I am FAR from dead. Your Starscream may be dead. I'm not so pathetic as to fall."

"You don't have to be pathetic to die. Death doesn't care who you are or what you've done."

"I've lived this long with Megatron. I don't know if yours ever did. But by Primus. I know how to survive this."

"No. He died here." Jetfire's voice clips. "And you don't have to live with him. Transwarp or not."

"I don't understand a thing you are saying, Jetfire. Where did he die? Make sense! Where is here?" Starscream says trying to keep his sound steady. But it had glitched out near the end. "I'm not dying. I will not Die!"

"The expedition!" He's threatening when he draws himself up to his full height. Viser flashed, bitter grief seeped into his words. "If he beats you, Starscream. He will kill you one day." There's a hint of desperation in the final of his sentance.

Starscream is silent. Turning away. "This was a mistake. I should of not let you follow me." Trying to dismiss everything.

"No. But I know danger when I see it. And I'd kill half of the Deceptacon army to keep you safe." He does not expect Starscream to accept him as he was. A mercenary, a killer, selling his gun and soul for the energy to live another day. But still tear down anything that could hurt this mirror of what was once his.

"Do you want to know a sad truth, Jetfire?"

"What is it?"

"Because of my negligence. Skyfire blasted himself likely into your dimension. If I wasn't so insistent on getting the transwarp. Skyfire wouldn't of shot it and you wouldn't be here."

"You said he was an Autobot." A long pause. "Are you rebuilding the transwarp engine to send me home?" There's the faintest note of disappointment, yet his shoulders are stiff. He just got Starscream back. Even if it isn't his.

"No, I dont' know. I just don't." Starscream brings his hand to his chestplate. "All I know is I fragged up. And it cost me someone who I can no longer call a friend."

Hesitantly, Jetfire reaches out to put his hand on Starscream's shoulder.

"I'm not a good friend." Starscream tenses, his battered wings drop, the dents in them shine off the light. The dirt on them showing he has not cleaned them as well as they should be. "I don't deserve anyone's graces. I earned this life I have."

"That makes two." Jetfire doesn't remove his hand. But makes no other move forward. Despite how much tension of the want to is.

Starscream sighs. Placing his hand over Jetfire's. Turning to face him finally.

Jetfire hesitates as if deciding whether to pull away. But truth. They are the same aren't they? Carefully, causiously, he takes his hand with Starscream's and squeezes it.

"I.. Am a stubborn fool. I know."

"We can try it your way. To start." Jetfire states. "And if it doesn't work. We do it my way." A concession. There's that careful, thoughtful neutrality in his voice. But its so much warmer. He sounds more like Skyfire. Even if time and stress have taken it away.

"Deal." Starscream feels more at ease. Tired but at ease.

Jetfire slowly kneels down. Bringing himself to eye level with Starscream. Though its almost uncomfortable, spilling out of his vocalizer. The words he says are still true. "I missed you."

Starscream only stares at him. Before lifting his hands to touch the sides of Jetfire's mask.

Jetfire places his hands on either side of Starscream's hands. And for a moment simply sits there. Taking in Starscream's presence. The physical contact. Then with the softest of sighs, keeping their hands in place. Moves their sets of hands together to pull off Jetfire's mask. It was swift, for if he hesitated he'd never go through with it.

It has been too long since he's removed it in front of another living mech.

He still has a face after all this time. Dull blue optics. Less bright and full of life when they were still young. A ragged slash mars the middle of his face. Like a scar, that never healed that was still sharp with its metal edges but at least nothing drips from it.

Skyfire still had that wonder in his optics, that curiosity. Jetfire looks as though he'd lived through the worst of their species, crawled from the ashes but never since been the same.

"You look awful." Starscream says softly, holding the mask in his hands. He then leans forward, on the tip of his pedes to touch his head to Jetfire's as best to his power.

There's a rough chuckle. He sounds more like Skyfire with out the mask helm, as it turns out. He rests his head against Starscream's wearily. "Oh, and you'd look good after four million years of mercenary work." He teases half heartedly, voice weavered and he just sounds tired now.

"You kidding? I'd make it work." Starscream teases back. So much more at the calm now.

"You didn't. You became a Decepticon." Is the light joke in return. What ever this is, its hesitant, careful but at least they both understand that.

"And I make it look good!"

"You do," Jetfire admits. "You're good at what you do. Though its strange. Seeing you as a fighter, and not a scientist."

"You think I'm strange? Have you thought of how jarring it is to see a soft pacifist you turn into this?" Starscream then rests a hand on his chest. Looking at the dirt. "I literally tried to attack you not long ago. And then come to find out you're this in some other reality."

"You're on opposite sides. Of course you were going to try and shoot him." Its spoken like a cold truth. "I think, we do what we have to, to survive."

"I was definitely right about one thing in all of this." Starscream looks up with a snarky grin. "You are an oaf sometimes."

"No, the oafs are half of your slagging faction. Processor glitches, the lot of them. You can see why I'd rather just take jobs, hm?" He strokes Starscream's face, gently.

"This is why when I'm leader we'll be much better equipped for war. I know what it takes to win." Starscream says with too much confidence.

"Mmh. Less 'plot of the week' and more actual plans, hmm?" Too long has he been with the Decepticons that he finally sounds vaguely happy.

"Actual plans! Yes!" Starscream schreeches softly. He is beaming lightly. Starscream has forgotten how much he's missed tender moments. His Trine is nice. But it feels different with Jetfire.

"Then we take him down. Together." Jetfire reaches back for his mask helm. Then pauses. Hesitates as if not wanting to move. "Starscream. May I?"

Starscream blinks at him. "May you what? I'm not Soundwave. I can't read your thoughts-"

With Jetfire's head still resting on Starscream's. Its not trouble to lean in further and kiss him.

Starscream heats up. Spark dancing in his chest. Almost painfully so, but he doesn't pull away. He stays still to allow Jetfire his affection. Which is not unwanted but it is freezingly startling.

It doesn't last for long, he's pulling away soon enough with uncertainty on his face. "Sorry."

"It wasn't, unwanted." Starscream starts. "I just haven't been," he begins to shut down his thoughts. Flustered and begins to sink to the ground. Heat coming off himself.

Jetfire catches him, looking concerned. "Starscream?"

Starscream for all rights is fine. Face flustered hot. Almost like a fever. He's not able to voice. A simple kiss had shut him down for the moment.

Jetfire though curls gently around him. Protectively. He understands what has happened. But still, its a moment of long wanted proctection and affection they've both lacked for ages. All coming together and falling apart in an instant of intimacy.

There's a soft wiring noise in Starscream's frame. As he slowly almost seems to reboot himself.

"Feeling better, Star?"

Starscream makes a soft whine. Before clearing his air ways. "Don't tell anyone that happened."

"I won't if you won't." Jetfire then realizes how much he's holding, touching even, Starscream quite a bit. Then quickly backs off.

Starscream simply nods. Promising silently, he streaches and those damaged wings speak nonsense as they adjust. Seems he's still alittle scrambled and not fully booted back up.

"We can stay here untill you are ready to go back."

"I'm usually back by now." Starscream manages to say. "The Trine might worry."

Jetfire stays his distance as Starscream tests his balance on his pedes. Who stumbles backwards with Jetfire nearly ready to catch him.

When it seems as though Starscream had collected himself. Jetfire returns his helm mask back on its proper place. "You know, Thundercracker was Air Commander where I'm from."

"Pft. Thundercracker huh. Well Skywarp is hardly the better choice."

There's a silent pause. As if Jetfire isn't giving the full story to that. "No, I suppose not."