Skyfire is so fast. Even damaged to outpace anyone. Yet he's already regretting his venture out. The cold winds whip at his chassis, the warnings he's so steadfastly ignored, still ignoring, so insistent in the back of his processor. Primus, he hates the cold. The ice beneath him shocks the memory of the fall into him. But the chance. This one simple chance and tugging on his spark. That Starscream has to be here.
Some where in the snow. Exactly where he was in the other realm.
There's a loud punch and Skyfire cowers. Watching his small Seeker friend stumble backwards. Violent for a scientist, but Starscream wasn't the only one who liked to settle things with his fist it seems. Fine then, Starscream will make it everyone's problem then.
"Why bother protecting him? He's just a transport vessel. Come one Seeker, you know better then to play guard for something like that?" Its cruel to point that out.
"Skyfire is a xenobiologist. You all wouldn't have jack scrap if it wasn't for his findings. Lay off or I'll do what you all want me to be. And go to war for him."
Starscream would be sent to medbay. But he'd have a grin on his faceplate. No one could take that from him.
Skyfire clings to his hands as he rests there. Watching him grinning up at the ceiling. "You gotta stop picking fights for me."
"You know well enough that if I don't you'll just hand over everything you find to them and they'd take all the credit."
"We have an expedition coming, Star. We can't get into fights like this." Skyfire states with worry. Gripping tighter his hand.
"Oh no worries. I'll protect you there too. Nothing's getting past me, my Moon."
With the memory in mind. Skyfire circles the site where he crashed. Where he's so certain Starscream lay. The winds here are nothing like the ones that took him down. The ones that must of taken this Starscream down. And if he is. Skyfire can't stand the thought of Starscream frozen solid. If he could even survive the cold plunge.
Its a great thing Bumblebee is light to carry. Crosswind carries him on through the freezing winds. Red Alert's security confirms the direction they need to be. North.
So all they must do is travel. And hope.
Bumblebee is weilded in guilt. This is his responsiblity. And though he has tried shouting for Skyfire through the winds, the cold kills it. What a shame.
"How can a massive shuttle be so hard to find?!" Crosswind yells above the winds. Scanners straining to find him.
"He's fucking white, of course we're having trouble finding him," Dawnrunner snaps back. "He blends in!"
"Can any one else track?" Bee wonders.
"I'm Trying, but the winds are messing my scanners up. Maybe we should land," Dawn mutters.
"Same here. I've never really tried it in this kind of weather." Bee checks his scanners and looks for blips of anything on his radar. "Yeah okay, you're all right. There's major interferance. But I Am getting something Cybertronian 3 cycles east of here. Two blips."
There's a beat. Then Crosswind, incredulous, "Two?"
"I guess some one in our reality really did crash here!" Bee shouts over the wind. "We gotta help him. We gotta get him dug out!"
"Okay. Bee? Lead the way," Dawn orders. "Let's not lose another idiot to this Primus-forsaken place then."
Bumblebee does just that. Keeping them focused in the right direction. Sending pings back to Teleetran One of current locations in the stormy weather. Eventually sending their destination point as well requesting anyone who'd built for digging.
And finally, Skyfire's silhouette emerges from the storm like a specter for half a moment, almost looking like a familiar mercenary instead of a scientist, already with his arms up to his elbow in the ice. There's something desperate about it, something a little off-kilter.
Dawn hisses, "Primus, he's going to hurt himself doing that-"
Bee charges and slides right along side him. Taking NO Time to start digging. "Skyfire!" He's tone is scolding.
Skyfire startles, rears back and sort of just ends up flat on his aft. "B-Bumblebee?" He's shivering from the cold, his self-heating obviously not repaired enough for this weather. Optics go even wider when he also catches sight of Crosswind and Dawnrunner. "You-"
"You're a dumbaft," Dawn hisses. "Ratchet is going to have all our heads on silver fucking platters because of you."
"If we dig enough for shelter well be safe from the winds!" Bee shouts. "We can worry about more scolding when we are least safe from the chills."
"This is gonna be a pretty big hole if we gotta fit Skyfire in it!" Crosswind quips, already moving to help Bee. Dawnrunner rolls his optics and joins in a moment later.
Skyfire just stares at them, unable to comprehend it for a moment. Just returns to digging. Trying to look for a glimpse of red and blue.
Bumblebee just keeps digging. "Tell us what exactly we're looking for , Skyfire." He feels his finger tips go cold. But keeps going.
"Starscream. He's- He's silver, red, and blue. Typical tetrajet alt. Probably- Probably shiny. He's- He's a little vain." He laughs breathlessly, but it sounds like it hurts to do so.
"Bee, do we know how long our backup will be?" Dawn asks.
"They'll be here in 3 human hours." Bee looks at Skyfire. "Got it."
"Three fucking hours- Primus, we'll freeze before they get here."
"I'm not leaving him," Skyfire mutters, tearing at the ice even more aggressively. "Not again."
"We won't leave him, Skyfire. We just... Gotta huddle for warmth in the hole we have made.. Just long enough till they reach us." Bee states. "That includes you Dawn."
Skyfire still doesn't quite fit in said hole. But the Seekers, so used to being birds of a feather, press close to his bulk anyway, and bring Bee in with them. Dawnrunner doesn't even complain. And it helps, it does- Though, Skyfire, so stubborn, still claws and scrapes at the ice as if something is possessing him.
Bumblebee clings close to them. With another scolding tone. "Skyfire. Rest. Tell us about Starscram. How about that. About when you were on Iacon."
Skyfire hesitated. No one had ever asked. Why would they? Starscream was an enemy, the feared Decepticon Air Commander. Nobody wanted to hear him as normal. But, slowly, Skyfire obliges. "...It was hard. For both of us. I was a shuttle, he a warbuild- They didn't want us there, not frames that shouldn't have been scientists in the first place. But Starscream... If you ever told him he couldn't do something, he only pushed through. He was fantastic, like that. If we hadn't met first year... Maybe I would have dropped out. I don't know. He used to get in fights to protect me."
"He sounds like he was a great mech at one point." Bee says. "He must of deeply cared for you. I can see why. You're easy to get along with." Bee smiles and that scold is gone. "Okay. We'll get him out. We just need to be patient. My readings say there's some life signs. So we just need to wait for proper diggers."
Skyfire startles a bit. "Life- There's life signs? He's here?" He's here. He's alive. The shuttle's hands twitch towards the hard ice, the desperation returning, but Dawnrunner smacks his side and Skyfire subsides.
"We'll rescue him. Please just focus on keeping warm." Bee says softly but loud enough to be heard over the storm. "Hopefully this will subside too."
"...Tell us more?" Crosswind's voice is soft, thoughtful. "About Starscream."
"...He was smart. Terribly smart. If he put his mind to it he could probably out-argue Perceptor on some things. His main area of study was the science of Energon, but if it interested him, he'd try to learn about it. He could remember more things about my own field than I could, sometimes." A soft, wistful sigh. "He was arrogant, and spiteful, and stubborn, but he had a strong sense of justice, a brilliant sense of humour. Stood up for me when no one else would. He could've saved some face by turning on me too, and he certainly knew how, but... He didn't. He wouldn't."
"Then he'll fit right in with us!" Bee states. He gently rubs his hand over Skyfire's arm. "I would be honoured to meet him."
Eventually though there's shouting over on wind as Optimus arrives with others.
"Bumblebee, Dawnrunner, Crosswinds!" He sounds relieved. "Skyfire.. you put us all in a rather big scare." He says as eventually they come closer in proper audio processing range.
“I... I’m sorry, Prime.” Skyfire looks down, still there in the hole, knees pulled up to his cockpit.
Ratchet, at Prime’s side, sighs. “You, Skyfire, are an idiot. But at least you’re okay.”
"Ratchet, lets get Skyfire patched and warm. I have a feeling he will refuse to leave here."
Bee stands. "Same with me. I got him into this by wreckless poking questions and suggestions. Its my responsibility to make sure his friend is out of the ice."
Ratchet sighs, but nods and moves to start doing some short term patches on poor Skyfire.
“He’s here,” Skyfire near-whispers. “Bumblebee, do you know- Can you tell how far down?”
"I'm not sure. I wanna guess a meter?" Bumblebee sits next to him and then gets to digging with what equipment Optimus had brought with him.
It would take hours longer. But eventually there's glints of red and blue in the ice.
Skyfire has been there the whole time, often with the Seekers physically holding him back from assisting. But when they see that brilliance, reveal the sharp edges of a tetrajet- They can’t hold him back. He descends upon the sight, pressing hands to the ice, optics transfixed. “...Starscream...”
Optimus moves next to him. "We'll get him out, Skyfire. I promise."
Starscream's optics glint to life. Flickering open, everything is blurred. Its bright. Its uneasy. Starscream is sure he's going to be off balance for a few days. Last he remembers.. Last he remembers is the storm...
There’s a hand on his arm, gentle and yet firm, holding on a little bit like a lifeline. A soft sigh announces the presence of that someone sat beside him, the soft sounds of someone in recharge.
Starscream looks over. "Skyfire? Skyfire.. did we... are we back on Iacon..."
Skyfire’s eyes blink open and he stretches, joints clicking, showing off still healing welds. He sits up straighter, and smiles so warmly at Starscream. There’s tears pin pricking in the corners of his optics, and he takes Starscream’s hand, presses it to his lips. “Star...”
He flusters instantly. "Don't. What if the Dean sees us!"
“Star... We’re not in Iacon right now, it’s fine. This- We’re... Not, on Cybertron.” There’s hesitance there, even with the sheer joy in his optics.
"Did..where are we? Did you get a rescue team.. better not of been freaking Snatchblaster who dug me out."
“...This... This is where we crashed.” We crashed. Skyfire hesitates, kissing again at Starscream’s hand. “It’s been.... A long time. A long, long time.”
Starscream pauses. "We.. crashed.. Sky. Skyfire. How long was I out for?"
Skyfire doesn’t answer. Doesn’t say anything. Instead, there is a single, private comm, using their old channel. And in doing that, he sends Starscream his chronometer data.
Starscream is silent. He instantly is to his pedes. Standing right up where he was sleeping, there's a wince of pain. "NO! I was not out that long! I couldn't of been!"
“The university is gone,” Skyfire near-whispers, still grasping at Starscream’s hands. “Razed to the ground. Now we’re in the middle of a war and- Primus, I- I found you. I found you.” Found him, this snapshot of the Seeker who had been.
Starscream looks dreadful. He squeezes his hand back. Tightly. Frightened by this realization. "We can't go home can we..."
“...No. No, we can’t. Just... Come here.” He reaches for his lover, to hold him close. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Starscream moves for him. Clinging to him. Confused, conflicted. "They're all gone aren't they."
“...Yes. Yes, probably.” He dips his head against Starscream’s, picking him up, holding him close. “I’m sorry, Star...”
Starscream holds him. He's quiet, and eventually he'll just sit there needing nothing more then Skyfire's arms to comfort him. Pushing away the small tug of glee and horror over the thought of all of them gone.
“...I love you. I love you, Star, I just- I want you to know that.”
"I... yes. I know.." Starscream doesn't even argue it like he would back on Cybertron. Too much time had passed to argue something like that. He has no idea how long Skyfire had been awake without him. How lonely that must of been.
“...Just please don’t leave me again... Please...”
" Why would I leave you, Skyfire... It's not like I meant to crash." He says trying to lighten the mood.
“...No.” There’s a pained smile. “...I didn’t either.” He presses his forehead against Starscream’s, and... Gently presses his lips to his Seeker’s.
Starscream freezes. Yes its been so long. So of course, Skyfire is being more affectionate, but something feels off. Though Starscream will return the kiss. Its simply hesitant and worried for Skyfire's sake.
He holds onto that kiss, as long as possible. Just drinking in the contact, almost desperate about it. “Ratchet- He’ll come and give you a check up, he’s the doctor here...”
Starscream nods. "I'll be good for the doctor then." Starscream feels Skyfire's face gently.
“...Do you remember the Decepticons? That rights movement?” He sits on the berth, Starscream in his lap. “...They’re not what they used to be, apparently. There’s a sentient species here, but they’re just draining the planet dry in their own might makes right system- Everything is topsy turvey, Star. It’s-“ He shakes his head, and buries his face in Starscream’s chest.
"I remember them.." Starscream just holds his head listening. "Shh.. Shh. You can bring me up to speed later. I'm tired, Skyfire. Even just waking.. I'm tired."
Still muffled in Starscream’s chest, “Maybe they’ll let us share a room...”
"That would be nice..." Starscream shuts his optics the lights much too bright for him right now and finally starting to bug him.
Ratchet will come in, sooner or later, to check on them- And has to push the curious Seeker pair out of the way to even get in the door.
“Is he awake yet, Skyfire?”
Starscream peaks his head up over Skyfire's shoulder. "I'm awake enough." He slips out of Skyfire's arms and lands on his pedes carefully.
“Alright. We’ll try to make this short, but I have to make sure you didn’t experience any ice damage from your dip. Try to answer these as truthfully as possible.” Two pairs of blue optics poke through the door. “And do your best to ignore the hooligans trying to get in medbay.”
“Do you have optics in the slagging back of your head?” Dismayed Crosswind noises.
Starscream snorts. "I'll answer as best I can."
So Ratchet runs down the usual questions: any warning messages, any pain, anything that’s more sluggish than it should be. The entire time the two other Seekers are doing their best to peek at Starscream.
Starscream answers them. "Fuel low. Possible leg damage. Wings ache and stiff. "
“Hmm. The wings are likely just from lack of use- The twins can take you out flying once I see to that leg and you’re properly rested. Skyfire, can you get him some fuel?”
Skyfire nods, running a soothing hand along Starscream’s wing. “I’ll grab a few cubes for him.”
Starscream groans and rocks on his pedes, there's a pained jolt through him as he does. Before taking a seat and lifting best he can his leg that's aching. "I can walk fine. But." There's some open damage on the other side out of Starscream's sight with exposed wiring.
“Aha, I see the problem. Looks like you've torn open your leg a bit- There’s cold damage on the wiring. Skyfire, pass me that kit over there, there should be some extra wires in there.” Once the box has been passed to Ratchet, he disables sensation to that leg and starts work on the wires.
Skyfire, with a kiss and a reassurance, leaves to go get Starscream some fuel. And on his way out, the bright red and yellow forms of the twins sneak their way in.
Starscream tilts his head at the duel Seekers sneaking in. Like they themselves hadn't seen a Seeker in ages other then eachother. Starscream snorts ooh if only he could move his wings. He'd issue an hello.
They flick one to him, though! One far more eagerly than the other, but still warm, still happy to see another Seeker.
“If you two are in here to cause trouble, I will get the Dinobots to throw you out again.”
“Awww, Ratch,” the red one whines, “Don’t fault us for being curious.”
"Curiosity is very healthy, Ratchet." Starscream grins to the Doctor. "I thought you were all about health."
Ratchet rolls his optics. “Do not encourage them. Okay, that’s the wires. I’m gonna weld this up again, okay? Then I’ll turn the sensation in your leg back on and you can tell me how it feels.”
"I'll let you know if you fragged my leg up more. Yes." He's obviously getting comfortable or over hyping himself to cope with displacement in time.
Ratchet scoffs. “Brat. Okay, I’m turning it back on.”
The red Seeker slides right over, flashing an easy grin Starscream’s way. “Heya. I’m Crosswind. The shiny slagger over there is my twin Dawnrunner.”
"Starscream." He then stretches his leg out as he grins. "Looks like its all good."
“Good. Now, take it easy. You two, you can handle his flights- And don’t drag him into your schemes, or I’ll have your wings for parts!”
Crosswind laughs, “Aw Ratch, don’t you trust us?”
“I trust you as far as I can throw Devastator, and you know it.”
Starscream stands then moves over to the seeker twins. "So.. War huh. I really was woken up at the worst point in history."
“Well we’re winning now, so that’s an upside,” Crosswind quips. Then, cheeky, “So, Sky’s your boyfriend, huh?”
Starscream sputters his wings. Trying to raise them back, in a threat? Startled? "What in the world gives you that idea?"
“Ehh, the fact he nearly wore through his hands trying to dig you out of the ice? And y’know, you were kissing.”
Dawnrunner with just deep sighs and wing signs something to the motion of ‘I’m sorry my brother is an idiot.’
Starscream is all sorts of flustered. "I'll have you know.... our relationship...is professional..."
“Oh yeah, as if he wasn’t being reeeeaaaally starstruck when he was talking about you...” Crosswind teases.
"Skyfire is extremely sentimental!" Starscream screeches. "We were very close friends but.. the kissing is new..."
“He left here just to find you,” Dawnrunner points out with a smirk. “While injured.”
"Oh..." Starscream says. Looking at the ground. How many times has he injured himself protecting the gentle giant from bullies getting hurt in the process. Its no surprise one day Skyfire would return that gesture but. "Big oaf." He says fondly.
“It’s kinda cute,” Crosswind teases, heading to the door and indicating Starscream follow. “Let’s see if we can find your datemate in the rec room, huh?”
Starscream scrunches his face. "One day I will return all this teasing ten fold." He though follows them.
Bee is in the rec room. Tinkering with his Datapad. He looks over. "So the Starscream awakens!"
“You have no idea how eager I am for that.” Crosswind waves at Bumblebee, and then at Skyfire dutifully grabbing a couple cubes. “So he does! Behold! A tetrajet!”
Skyfire turns around and instantly smiles upon seeing Starscream. “You giving him the grand tour?” He slides a cube into Starscream’s hand, and a kiss to his forehead.
Crosswind snickers at the sight. “Something like that.”
Starscream lowers his head and steam is pushed out his vents. Starscream decides to drown himself in the energon quickly to cover up the fact.
Bumblebee chuckles. "He's more flustery then you told us, Skyfire!"
“I’m... A sentimental spark, what can I say?” He smiles, and kisses Starscream again. “Don’t choke, sweetspark.”
Starscream steams again. "I'm not gonna choke!"
Bumblebee awes at them.
Starscream just hisses.
“Starscream, this is Bumblebee. Bumblebee, Starscream.” Skyfire just can’t stop smiling, look at him.
"Pleasure..." Starscream finally manages to say. Flustered much to his annoyance. It was so weird. Had Skyfire always been this sentimental. Some how he doesn't think so. And yet. Yet here he is. Showering him with affection in public. Skyfire usually only did as such in closed quarters.
Bee smiles at him. "Just glad we could save you."
But there was something different, wasn’t there? He crashed too, and yet he seems to know all the pieces, and something about it. There’s a recent grief, maybe. “...I didn’t thank you for coming after me yet, so... Consider this that. Thank you.”
Crosswind shrugs, “Ah, no biggie. Us ex-Cons gotta stick together.”
Starscream pushes out of Skyfire's arms. "Ex Cons?"
“Oh yeah. Me and D left aaaages ago, Bee was a spy for us for a long time, and then Sky apparently was briefly tricked by the ‘Cons when they dug him up. So! We stick together.” A grin from Crosswinds as he states the facts.
Skyfire, amused, “I’ve not even been here a week.”
“Still! It’s important.”
Starscream scrunches his optics. "Wait hold on hold on. Skyfire was dug up by the Decepticons? Was he crashed farther from me or?"
Bee tenses. "Wait.. Skyfire did you not explain it yet?"
Skyfire hesitates. “I just... I don’t... Know how to talk about it.” He withdraws a little from Starscream. “I’m sorry.”
Bee opens his mouth and then shuts it.. Before saying " You gotta tell him eventually."
Starscream glares at all of them. The friendliness moments before replaced with a dreaded silence that Starscream grew suspicious of.
“...Starscream...” He hesitates. Primus, the shuttle actually looks frightened in a way. “...Why don’t we walk back to my room together?”
Starscream stares him down. "Fine. I would like an explanation for why everyone is suddenly shut up."
“...As we walk. Or- Or in my room.”
"I just want it explained to me. I don't care where just that its out."
He nods nervously, turning and leaving. Letting Starscream follow him.
Starscream follows him. "Was being with the Decepticons bad? Is that why it took you longer to find me?"
“...Yes. But... Also, it’s... More complicated, than that. It’s. I’m sorry.”
"Why are you sorry?" Starscream moves next to him. Staring up at his face.
He looks up at the ceiling and then, so very small, “Do you remember our classes on transwarp technology? The ones we had to take to do our expedition.”
"Yeah. I remember. How dangerous it was and if misused you could blast yourself either to oblivion, or to a different time all together."
“I blew up a transwarp engine. To keep it from the Decepticons.”
"Skyfire! You could of been left floating in the void!"
He cracks a small smile. “That is exactly what Ratchet’s sentiments were. And... I know, I know. It’s just... I didn’t- I didn’t just get injured.”
"Skyfire... ?" Starscream can piece together it.. but he doesn't' want it to be true.
“...I was keeping the engine from you. From a version of you, it- I’m sorry.” He inhales sharply. “I’m not- I’m not yours. I shouldn’t have let you think otherwise. I’m sorry. Nobody knows where- Where yours is.” He takes a step away.
Its silent. Long hard silent. Growing angry. Staring at once was his, now a complete stranger. A stranger who had. "You kissed me. You held me! Why did you drag me out of the ice!? WHY" he demands.
“Because I love you!” Is the desperate answer. “Because- Because I woke up there, and everything was different, and I know what it’s like! And- And I wasn’t going to just leave you there. I wasn’t.”
"Do you love me? Or does any Starscream do?"
Skyfire recoils as if Starscream had just physically slapped him. He steps back, and can’t find the words to respond, never mind refute. He just. It was impulse, and what can one say about impulse?
Starscream holds an anger on his voice. "I would rather of been left in the ice." Its not true, but words said in anger are so easily exaggeration of expression. He turns goes to leave, outside of the Ark.
Skyfire crumples, almost instantly. That spark of joy upon having a Starscream that he knew back, withering. There’s nothing here to do but stew in the thoughts of it... And sequester himself in his room.