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V2 The Fallen Star

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Fire, shouting, and then Skyfire finds nothing. Nothing more then a gamble, desperate and not intended to be serious. But like time and time again. Any plea to his fallen Star of a once friend. It came down to pain.

When he finally comes to, an ache in his frame, the ever familiar ceiling of the Ark greets him. He groans and even that hurt. Everything hurt. Maybe a pain patch had warn off.

The silhouette of Optimus Prime is seen from his corner optic. Pacing as is normal when he's thinking deeply. He stops when he notices the mech on the table had stired awake. "Ratchet. It seems our guest is starting to stir." He sounds concerned but. "Guest?" How odd.

The pain still fogs his mind, and Skyfire struggles to push himself up to squint blearily at Prime. But never makes it, hissing in pain and having to go limp again.

"Easy, big fella." Ratchet comes to Skyfire's side. "You took quite a beating."

"You were incredibly lucky we were on patrol. Can you speak? Can you hear us?" Optimus asks as he walks to them.

Patrol? "Yes. I-is everyone okay?" His thoughts drift to Starscream once more, but. He's sure everyone has grown tired of his mentioning of the Seeker.

Optimus' optics blink. "Our patrol is fine." He looks to Ratchet. "Is it possible he's from another escape vessel?"

"What-? Prime-" Skyfire struggles to get up again. Only to be gently and firmly pushed down by Ratchet.

"Stay down, or I'll weld you to the berth! You're still pretty damaged." He turns to Optimus. "It's possible he crashed here himself, considering he's a shuttle. I don't think he's on the Ark's staff roll though."

"He's clearly an Autobot.." Optimus turns back to the Shuttle. "Do you know if your damage is from your fall or were you attacked?" Ever soft and concerned.

Skyfire just stares at him for a moment. Optics full of confusion. It sort of hurts to talk, but he'll find the words. "Fall? But, sir, the transwarp-"

"Transwarp?" Now its Optimus who looks deeply confused. He looks to Ratchet.

"The transwarp engine. Wheeljack was demonstrating-" Skyfire trails off to the look on their faces. Uncertainty seeping in.

Ratchet frowns. Crossing his arms. "You know Wheeljack?"

"Of course I do!" But its half-hearted, so unsure now.

"Do you have a name?" Optimus asks.

"You don't know... my name?" Primus, so helpless and confused now. Its all over his face.

"I'm very sorry, soldier. I don't reconize you." Optimus feels pity for the mech. "Did we pass on Cybertron during the war?"

Skyfire slowly turns his gaze to the ceiling, mind whirling. To a processor already strained by pain, already dealing with the memory of Starscream still as unreachable as ever, he just couldn’t understand. It was like coming from the ice all over again, with familiar faces unable to recognize the mech that had gone in. “My name is Skyfire. I’m a xenobiologist.”

"Skyfire, who did this to you?" Optimus puts a hand on his shoulder with care.

"I blew up a transwarp drive." Skyfire closes his optics. "To keep the Decepticons from getting their hands on it."

Ratchet jerks alittle. "You what? Of all the stupid, glitch-headed maneuvers-"

"It was that or let Starscream have it," is all he mutters. Not even bothering to open his optics. The look on Starscream's faceplates replaying in his head.

Starscream jetting out of the blast range. Turned to him. Screaming that he's a fool, all the pain in that terrored expression. Before the explosion took away all sight and thought.

Once more there's some form of confusion. "Starscream?" as if that name did not exist here. Optimus sighs. "You were brave but wreckless. You could of blasted yourself into the void."

"I know. I was trying to," pause. "Convince him to back off." Skyfire knows the truth is he wanted Starscream to leave with him. Abandon everything and be there at his side with the Autobots.

"Brave, but stupid! You're lucky you're not missing any parts, either." Ratchet lectures.

"We can save the lecture for later."

Ratchet simply huffs and leans on the wall. "Now who the hell is Starscream?"

Skyfire nearly tries to get up again at that. "Who is Starscream? The Air Commander-"

"Thundercracker is the Air Commander." Optimus corrects, and the looks to Ratchet.

"Thundercracker!?" Skyfire's mouth is partly open, in full bafflement. "Thundercracker... I mean he would make a good Air Commander-"

"He is the current Air Commander," Ratchet refutes. Narrowing his optics in thought. "I've never heard of a Starscream. Not even as a past Decepticon figure."

Optimus hums confused. "Perhaps we should grab Wheeljack."

"I'll do that. Make sure he doesn't get up while I'm gone! He still needs to rest."

Optimus only nods and takes a seat where Ratchet usually sits.

And Ratchet isn't gone for too long. And Skyfire is silent the whole time. When Ratchet returns he's practically dragging Wheeljack behind him. "Alright, I've got him."

Wheeljack presses on the bridge of where a nose would of been. "Alright. Can you please explain why I was dragged from my work? Usually it's exploding first."

“Our guest Skyfire here has recently been the victim of a self-made transwarp engine explosion. Idiocy aside... He’s making some weird statements that don’t seem to be the result of just pain delirium. You’re the one building one of the damn things, so here we are.” He crosses his arms again and urges Skyfire, “Tell Wheeljack what you just told me and Prime.”

For a moment, Skyfire just looks lost and kind of defeated. But then, finally, “The current Air Commander is Starscream, not Thundercracker. They and Skywarp form the command trine.”

“The command trine? Completed?”

Wheeljack crosses his arms. And then undoes so as his thinking is cleared. He snaps his fingers. "I believe I have an explanation. Its a very simple one at that."

Optimus raises and opens his hand. "Go on?"

"We are either witnessing someone from the Future. Or we have a trans dimensional guest."

"Trans... Dimensional." Skyfire thunks his head back on the berth. The concept settling so uncomfortably. He repeats it so much more distressed. "Trans dimensional."

Optimus pats Skyfire's shoulder. Unable to think of a comforting thing to say to that.

Wheeljack however keeps chatting. "Its abit of a stretch. But likely the transwarp this Shuttle here messed with is from an alternate reality. I would have to ask him things on it to figure out the nature of his dimension."

“You can bother my patient later, Wheeljack. He still needs to rest and recover, and you talking at him won’t help!” Ratchet, sharp-eyed Ratchet. Of course he’d seen the distress on Skyfire’s face and moved to ward away his over-enthusiastic datemate. “Maybe while you wait you can come up with a few concrete tests that don’t just involve interrogating my patient!”

Wheeljack is ecstatic. "Right. And since we know the trans warp might be dangerous. I'll.. maybe set that aside for now." Wheeljack presses again at where his nose bridge would be. He then realizes he's abit too excited to tinker. "Right right."

“I’ll let you know - both of you know - when he’s a bit more ready to talk.”

Optimus stands. Instantly understanding it includes him as well. He takes a hand on Wheeljack and they start heading to the exit. While Wheeljack keeps beeping his lights on his head, indicating he's mumbling to himself. Likely thinking of ideas outloud.

Ratchet shakes his head fondly, then rounds on Skyfire. “I can practically see your processor firing from here. Rest. We’ll all get our answers in time. I’ll administer a new pain patch and let you recharge.”

Skyfire nods, numbly, and just does as he’s told. Maybe if he does, he’ll wake up and this will have all been a dream.

But in reality, every universe has its troublemakers, and every universe they seem to drag Bee into it. Who can fault a pair of energetic Seekers for wanting to know about their guest and sending a minibot to do the dirty work?

Bumblebee flicks his door wings in annoyance at them. A very firm fuck you if he's caught by Ratchet. But Bee will oblige. Bee leans over on the medbay bed. Staring at the pretty Shuttle. "Hey, you awake?"

There’s a soft groan from Skyfire, but yes, he is awake. Always been a light sleeper. At least he’s no longer so much in pain, blinking blue optics at Bumblebee blearily. “...Bee?”

Bee looks different. His optics are a bright light purple. Contrasting with all the yellow on him. The old scrubbed of purple of his chest covered barely by the Autobot symbol. "You know me?"

There's a journey of emotions that flit their way across Skyfire's face at that, as he takes Bee's appearance in: confusion, then briefly some sort of desperation - is that a flash of something like denial with it and finally, a defeated sort of despaired sigh. "...No. I guess I don't."

"Oh. Hey its okay! I'm sure there's lots of bots named Bee!" Bumblebee says raises his hands up reassuringly. "You're Skyfire right?"

"Yes, I'm Skyfire." Poor dear, sounding so defeated and alone. "I suppose word gets around fast."

"It happens when you got two very conniving little Seekers who like to eaves drop. But can't do it all themselves."

Skyfire blinks, confusion again creeping back onto his face. "...'Seekers'?"

"They're Safe! They're Autobots, not prisoners."

"...I thought there weren't any Autobot Seekers."

"There's not alot of em. Currently its just the twins and that don't make for a Trine."

He sits up a little with a start. "The twins? Sideswipe and Sunstreaker???"

"Crosswind and Dawnrunner." Bee states. " You really aren't from this place are you."

He deflates again, just like that. "...No. No, I guess I'm not."

"Wheeljacks' gonna figure this out. You'll be fine."

"And Wheeljack apparently blabbed to the entire ship about me," Skyfire mutters. "Well, at least that's consistent."

"Nah. I did say. The twins like to eaves drop and send me in for intel."

Skyfire just groans again. "And you're chancing Ratchet for this?"

"I've chanced a lot worse for a lot less." Bee smirks.

Skyfire eyes him a bit. "...Somehow, I don't doubt that."

Bee pulls up a seat and plucks himself in it. Losing some sight but meh, it happens to minibots when they steal someone elses chair. "I'm guessing you know a Bumblebee from where ever you're at huh?"

"Yes. Though I don't think mine ever wore the Decepticon symbol." He gives Bee a cautious look- Not cautious of Bee, but more of Bee's reaction to him saying that.

"Pft. Didn't think so." He almost sounds disappointed. Bee then waves his hand dismissively. "Well I'm sure he's in a better place then I was first starting out."

"Maybe. I don't know." He looks back up at the ceiling. "I was in stasis for... A very long time. Since before the war."

"Frag? Seriously? So waking up twice in a new place.. I'm sorry."

"I crashed here a long time ago, up at the northern polar region. Got dug up out of the ice, manipulated into being a Decepticon for a cycle or three, had Autobot existence smacked into my face and realized I was on the wrong side. It's... Been an interesting few Earth years."

"Hey! We got something in common at least!" Bee says reassuringly. "Ex 'Cons stick together."

Skyfire chuckles. "I wasn't a Decepticon that long. But thank you. It's... Reassuring."

Bee smiles wide. "So I did manage to catch you saying something about a Deceptacon, Starscream. You sounded rather Sparkbroken over him.. Bondmate at one point?" A beat. "Wait the smile isn't for that... " Bee tries to correct his face. Bee starts stuttering with his car door wings.

Skyfire shoots up, sputtering - and wincing at the pain that causes in response. "I- No! We- We were partners. We studied together at the University of Iacon." But they had been dating. Maybe bondmates, maybe one day, except- Except. "...He's a Seeker." And really, with the Decepticon monopoly on them, that says everything.

Bee tenses and has a empathy ping of pain. "I see.. So that's what's that was. I'm sorry.. He must of gotten swiped up while you were gone in the ice." Bee then sinks realizing if they have no notes on this Deceptacon. Then he's likely dead. "I'm really sorry. I shouldn't of pried like that."

"...It's strange to me, that Thundercracker is Air Commander here," Skyfire quietly admits. Even if this isn't his Bumblebee, it's... Easy to talk to him regardless. Perhaps it's his processor just not catching up with his reality. "I mean, I suppose it makes sense. He has a level head."

"Meh. Thundercracker might be a good Air Commander but he and Skywarp are constantly looking for a third that no one in their company want to fill. Too much risk buddying up with the Commander trine. Still don't know how Skywarp ended up with Thundercracker like that. Constantly at eachothers throats as they are." Bee sighs. "Skywarp's too much of a trouble maker and Thundercracker is third in the line of Command. No one wants to touch that mess."

"...I guess Starscream did." Maybe he should have learned more about the command trine while at home, mapped out how they worked together. Thundercracker with his level head, Skywarp with his mischief but occasional surprising flashes of brilliance, and... Starscream. Beautiful, vain Starscream. He wonders, quietly, what happened to him here. What happened to Skyfire.

"Starscream must of been a risk taker." Bee snorts. "Wonder if we ever had him in this reality." Bee flutters his door wings. "You know. We don't have a you here. Maybe without you as a level head he crashed instead. I don't know. Wheeljacks is the one with the smarts in this stuff."

"He is. And one of the smartest mechs I've ever met." He pauses a little at Bumblebee's words, processing with a soft intake of air. Could Starscream have done that? Maybe. He always was trying to prove himself. "...If he even exists at all. We don't even know if I exist at all here."

Bee stands suddenly. "Ah Scrap. I gotta roll. Ratchet should be getting back here any cycle now. But I can.. keep a optic out for intell if you like." Even here Bee is everyone's buddy.

"...That would be appreciated. Thank you." He thinks a moment, then calls, "Bee? Did you ever go to the north pole to stop Decepticon activity?" Because he knows it was Starscream's idea. He knows it was. But if no one's been up there...

"Hm? No, never on our radar." Bee turns briefly and then he disappears down the corner.

No one's been there. No one's even been around to find anyone who crashed. He shouldn't- He's been here only two days, according to his internal chronometers. There's a lot of his systems still throwing up warnings, though no longer as severe as when he first came back online. He shouldn't. Maybe neither of them had existed. Maybe Starscream died in a different way; in a war, there's a hundred different ignoble ways to do it. But something tugs at his spark. Maybe... Maybe if there's a chance...
Skyfire shuts off some of the warnings, and unsteadily gets to pushing himself to his feet.

Of course, the Seeker twins are waiting for Bumblebee practically outside the main door. "So??" Crosswind's blue optics are bright with curiosity. "What's he like? Is he really from another dimension?"

Bumblebee holds his hands up palms open . "First of all you both owe me for all of what I had to put that shuttle through." Bee smirks. "I say frag all till I get what you promised me. For the emotional troubles I caused and am now suffering through."

Dawnrunner rolls his optics aggressively, and drops a whole and entire cube in Bee's hand. "You hang around Jetfire too much," he accuses. "He's rubbing off on you."

"I am an growing mech. I learn from everyone around me. Can't help if my influences are you two, a mercenary killer and Decepticons." He sends his cube to subspace.

"You're a lying bastard and you know it."

Crosswind shoves him for that. "Don't listen to D. C'mon, give us the deets."

"Well he's an ex 'Con from another dimension. Lost a partner, don't know if romantic or strictly platonic meaning or other wise to the 'Cons." Bee crosses his arms. "So frankly we gotta make sure he's not bullied. He is WAY too soft and gentle. Skyfire is gonna get himself hurt. He wasn't even in the WAR. He crashed in the other dimension here on Earth before it started."

"Frag, that's... Man, that's a lot." Crosswind winces. "I don't think I've seen a civvie for years."

"How can he be an ex-'Con if he's not been in the war?" Dawnrunner demands.

"Oh that? He got dug up in the ice by the Con's and tricked him I'm assuming. Something something, Partner was a Seeker so likely he just saw a familiar face and believed what ever he was told."

"Oh. Ouch. Poor guy." Crosswind winces. "Probably thought they were still the same assholes as when we first joined."

"Yeah.. I may of opened up some pretty deep wounds." Bee hides his head in his hands.

Crosswind slings an arm around Bee, hugging him to his side. "Aww, y'didn't mean it. I'm sure you can make it up to him later."

"Yeah!" Bee lowers his hand and balls them into fists. "I gotta."

Ratchet approaches the doors, side-eyeing the huddle of them as he passes. "You three haven't been bothering my patient, have you?"

"No sir. We never would, sir." Crosswind, your innocence is a facade and Ratchet knows it.

Bee rolls on his heels. "I know the rules. And I know the consequence."

"Alright. But I've got my optic on you." Ratchet eyes them, moving inside. Then not even a full five seconds later he's coming back out again. "Okay, I know one of you little glitches went in there! Did you help him out of medbay, you two!?"

Crosswind, incredulous, "No. We didn't go in, promise!"

Bee tenses. He certainly fragged this up bad. "I... was in there.. I was making friendly chat!"

Ratchet rounds on him. "What did you do!"

"He didn't do anything! All we wanted was to know some things!" Crosswind states.

"Oh fuck you," Dawn snaps, "Drop me in it with you, huh."

"He might be.. headed for the Northern polar regions..." Bee presses his fingers together nervously.

"What!? What in the Primus-forsaken world inspired him to do that?"

"Because he might think that Starscream mech fell there instead of himself this dimension..."

"He-" Ratchet pinches the bridge of his nose. "He's going to get himself killed. Crosswind, Dawnrunner, you're the fastest of us, you're going to have to catch him. Take Bee with you, since you're the cause of this mess. We'll follow up as fast as we can, but it'll be a while."

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

He's walked mile after mile. Climbing up onto a rock. And then Starscream screams to his name sake into the empty desert. He needed to get out all his rage. Release and take in the fact he'd been left in the ice for four million years. Did his Skyfire even look for him? Where was he? It wasn't fair! Nothing is fair and Starscream curses time and space itself.

But little to Starscream knowledge he's not alone out there in the desert and dust. So far from safety. Above him, far above, glints a pair of jets that were alien to Starscream. One a brilliant blue, another black and purple. Coasting ever slightly lower to his screaming.

Starscream tenses working his wings back in a threat display. They ache and stiff, giving him nothing. Even if the screaming and anger loosened them ever slightly.

This isn't the Seeker twins. These are very well another pair of them. Starscream can feel it, even if they look so strange. He steps backwards on his rock he'd climbed upon.

The strange pair are lower now. Before the purple suddenly dives. Its more curious then anything else, with a cautious wing waggle in greeting. At least untill Blue quickly flicks out a sharp order with his wings and Purple sullenly pulls back.

Certainly more military then himself. Starscream moves forward and attempts to take off, finding he can only hover a few moments and crashes planting face first into the dirt and sand. Slowly pushing himself up.

There's a laugh from Purple who has suddenly landed in front of him, the unfamiliar form even in robot mode. It does however match the twins. Blue joins his partner but remains hovering above the ground, his reserved cautious expression a far cry from his friend's chaotic grin.

Purple still laughing says, "Wow. Nice landing."

"Skywarp. Rein it in."

"Shut it. I just woke up from a very long stasis." Starscream gets to his pedes and stares at them. Boredly. Not even realizing the danger he is in.

The both of them have purple marks on their wings, interestingly enough. But Skywarp flicks his aggressively in dismissal and distracts from that. “Stasis, huh? Where the slag did a tetrajet crawl out of on this mudball?” he snarks.

“Skywarp.” His friends optics are narrowed. “What’s your designation, Seeker?” He sounds like he’s in charge. There’s an edge of a commanding presence in how he speaks, how he holds himself.

Starscream snorts. "Designation of what? I'm a scientist. I don't work here. In fact. I am busy screaming my troubles away. So please. Frag off."

“Hey! Don’t talk to the Air Commander like that,” Skywarp snaps. “We're in charge of you.”

Thundercracker glares holes into the back of Skywarp’s head, but firmly, “Your name, Seeker. What’s your scientific specialization?”

"Air Commander..." Starscream snorts. "I'm Starscream. I deal with Energon primarily and what ever fancies my interest. But frankly I don't care right now who you are. I just woke the frag up and I am mourning my displacement."

“You don’t have any faction symbols.” Skywarp is walking around Starscream, taking him in.

"Yeah. Like I said. I don't work here. I just woke up out of the Primus forsaken ice."

The two Seekers share a look, and Skywarp puts an arm over Starscream’s shoulders. “Woke up out of ice, huh? So you don’t know what’s going on?”

"I know vaguely that I'm a planet with organics. And that there's a war. Or something." Starscream tenses and bucks his shoulder at the strange and overly familiar seeker.

“Oh, we’ll tell you the rest. Set everything straight,” Skywarp reassures with a wink.

"I don't feel like returning to the Ark right now to talk. I'm kind of rather pissed at someone I thought I knew." Starscream feels sick. In a strange way.

There’s another look shared between the two Seekers, and then Thundercracker says, “We’re not going to the Ark.”

"Where... are we going?" He asks sounding suddenly concerned. "Maybe I should alert the twins I might be gone for a bit...." He then realizes no one gave him their comm data.

“It’s fiiine, they’ll understand. Besides, don’t you wanna know where most of the other Seekers are?” Skywarp has the friendliest smile upon his face. But something is dark just behind the surface.

"There's more Seekers?" Starscream looks over to them. A guard being let down. "Yeah.. I was starting to get alittle concerned with only seeing Dawn and Cross."

Thundercracker nods. "Follow us back. Can you fly?"

"I think I'm slightly grounded. I can hover but not much more then that."

“Hm. We’ll carry you, then. Come on, Skywarp, help me do this.”

"Right. Thanks.. Air Commander." Starscream walks closer to them.

They’re careful in picking him up, surprisingly so. “Okay!” comes Skywarp’s cheery voice. “Next stop, the Nemesis!”

Starscream holds still for them. "The Nemesis?"

“Yep! That’s home. You’ll like it, there’s lots of us there.”

"The Arc isn't home?"

Skywarp grins, razor-sharp, and - god knows how many miles up in the air with Starscream - drops the bombshell: “Yeah. For proper Decepticons."

Thundercracker instantly groans.

Starscream's face drops. He starts bucking his legs in the air. If Starscream hadn't believed the rights group has actually changed. He sure believes it now being kidnapped.

Skywarp, voice suddenly vicious, “I’ll drop you like a slagging stone if you keep squirming!”

Starscream freezes. Deathly cold now. Like under the ice. He looks at the Air Commander. Like this is just some sick hazing the Autobots are pulling.

Thundercracker’s face is completely unreadable, though there is a flash of something... Else, in his optics. He turns his face away soon anyway, comming back to base, “Ready a cell. We’ve got a prisoner.”

"Why! I'm useless to you! I don't know any of the politics of modern Cybertron or this war!"

“Seekers are Decepticons, or they’re dead. Nobody tell you why there’s only two with those Autobutts, huh? We don’t owe anything to those fucking grounders.” Skywarp sounds so sure of this. “You belong with us. You’ll see.”

Starscream feels his whole Spark sink. "Weren't you all originally for self identification, choosing your own place in the world?! Why are you forcing Seekers to be Deceptacons? This is backwards!"

While Starscream pleads, at the top of the Nemesis at the Sky Entrance. Megatron is there to greet them. Silently.

Thundercracker doesn’t say a damn word, while Skywarp spills the whole bullshit of how they’re better off as Decepticons, how it’s for Starscream’s own good. They just land in the Nemesis, Skywarp’s hands firmly on Starscream’s shoulders to keep him from running.

Thundercracker salutes Megatron. “Our prisoner, Lord Megatron.”

Megatron walks over to them. Eyeing Starscream. "You didn't tell me you had found an unmarked Seeker. Where has this fool been hiding?"

Starscream bucks his shoulders. "I am not a fool. And I will not be talked about as if I'm not here."

Megatron looks to Thundercracker and Skywarp. Daring them to control the prisoner who should be under Thundercracker's command. Or else.

“He said he was under the ice somewhere, sir,” Thundercracker reports, shooting Skywarp a look- Who only holds onto Starscream tighter.

"He obviously seems disinterested in our beloved cause. Perhaps he doesn't know the rules here. Or who I am." Megatron looks down on them all.

And Starscream spits at his feet. "You could be Primus, himself. And I wouldn't give a frag after your Mechs Abducted me!"

“This is Lord Megatron, supreme commander of the Decepticon armies. Show some respect, Seeker.” Thundercracker’s voice is so cold. “As a Seeker you are to follow the ruler of Vos, and as Air Commander that’s what I am. Megatron’s rule is mine.”

"You asked so nicely for my name before, Air Commander why not use it?"

Megatron smirks. He fucking smirks. Amused at the defiance. He hadn't had his mechs need to break someone in in a while.

Thundercracker is not good at that part. “Show respect to our leader and I might.”

"Are we having trouble's, Thundercracker?" Megatron asks. Coldly with hints of some kind of sick amusement from the whole thing.

Starscream just bucks his shoulders.

"Put him on his face, Skywarp." Megatron states to the other half of the command Trine.

Skywarp complies instantly, kicking the back of Starscream’s legs to force him to the ground.

Starscream grunts and falls to them. He hisses out his vents and his wings ache trying to move into a threat display.

Megatron smirks. "I see at least someone here knows how to handle a prisoner."

Thundercracker sets his jaw, and nods. Skywarp, of course, kicks Starscream again while he’s down.

Starscream is now bent over on his hands. Groaning in pain.

"Thundercracker. I know you have it in you to put in place your soon to be subordinate. Prove to him you're worth listening to. Before I make Skywarp the new Air Commander strickly because he listens."

“Yes sir.” Thundercracker hauls Starscream up to his feet, ruby optics narrowed, and... Lands one ruthless, solid punch into Starscream’s cockpit. If he hasn’t cracked it, it’s a miracle.

Starscream coughs out. Oh how badly he wants to return with a flying fist of his own. But being abit grounded paired with being at an extreme disadvantage of the fact he's a Scientist. Not a Soldier.

"Congratulations, Commander you keep your rank one more day."

"Thank you, sir. Skywarp, take him to the cells. We'll deal with him more fully later."

Starscream keeps steady on his legs. He'll just have to work on surviving this. He curses ever being woken from the Ice.

The cell is nothing cushy, nothing nice; if anything, it's damp, and cold, and there's a leak somewhere in it. The woes of living underwater.

Starscream looks at Skywarp. "Are you really happy like this, kid? Kicking the fallen and listening to that all day." But he enters into the cell without a fuss.

Skywarp snaps, "Better than what I came from. I owe this faction shit, so don't get mouthy."

"I liked you better when you pretended to be creepily friendly. Lets have that back, huh?"

"Nah, you get that when you join. Sorry!"

Starscream huffs and takes a seat. Sitting directly under the leak. "Then I'll make friends with drowning."

"Have it your way, Screamer!"

"Starscream! You haven't earned giving me nicknames!"

"I think I can call you whatever I want when I'm the one with the gun," he taunts like the brat he is. Skywarp then locks him in and returns to his duties.

Starscream stays under the leak. He will NOT BUDGE. He is sticking to his bed and that's final.