swordage: Skyfire flying. (tf fire in the sky)
[personal profile] swordage
Title: I've come to be untroubled in my seeking
Series: Transformers G1-ish
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2276
Notes: I have so many other things I should be writing. Instead, this got finished! I've been reading too many "Starscream is just damaged and fixing him makes everything better" fics, clearly. Guess what happens in this story.
Sample: "Did you think to hold it over me? Megatron will feel no gratitude to you, either. Or perhaps you foolishly hoped to impart a voice of reason to the Decepticon ranks?" Starscream laughed. "If Soundwave and Shockwave could not do such a thing, then it cannot be done."

***

Cliffjumper came to crouch beside Ratchet, his energy field extending in reassurance until the medic finally lifted his head. Staring at the still, battered body on his makeshift exam table, Ratchet murmured, "His processor is damaged. There's multiple infinite loops - I didn't even have to check his programming, they've worn patterns into his circuits that even a field medic could spot."

"What will you do?" Cliffjumper's voice was just as hushed, but he kept any judgment from his tone.

"Tell Prime." Ratchet laughed bitterly. "What else is there to do?"

"He'll want it fixed. Prime can't stand to see any of us crippled." It was simple fact; Ratchet nodded, resigned. "What if he..."

"Yes," Ratchet sighed. "That's why I haven't told him yet."

Cliffjumper was quiet for a long moment. "Bring Ironhide with you. Prime listens to him sometimes."

"I know." Ratchet put a hand over his face, hiding the world from his optics.

"There's something else?"

"There's always something else." Ratchet smiled behind his hand. It wasn't a pretty expression. "I'm not sure I can refrain from fixing him. But fixing him could be our ruin."

Cliffjumper didn't say a word about melodrama - Ratchet spoke the simple truth of the matter. There was really nothing to say at all. He stayed there, silent support, until Ratchet finally rose to find Ironhide and Prime.

Alone in the room, Cliffjumper thought about taking it out of Ratchet's hands. The mech on the table was defenseless. Under the medical sedation overrides, he would feel no pain.

The war was making monsters of them all. Cliffjumper stood guard at the door instead.

***

"No. Absolutely not." Ironhide didn't even hesitate. "Prime, don't even think it."

"Settle down, Ironhide." Optimus didn't look at him directly - oh, that was a bad sign. "If he is impaired -"

"Then we've been fighting a dumbed-down, half-mad version of him all this time, and a fully-functional version would destroy us," Ironhide argued. "You can't even consider this, Optimus. There is no scenario in which fixing him would help us."

"So we should leave him in pain, unable to think clearly, to suffer at Megatron's hands?" Optimus had that look, that Prime look, the one that said they are not so different from us. Ratchet groaned.

"Optimus. Ironhide is right. We're holding even now, but to return him - of all mechs - functional in a way he probably hasn't been since the war began..."

"It cannot be borne," Optimus murmured, bowing his head. "I cannot let him suffer. Haven't we suffered enough?"

"Not for much longer," Ironhide muttered. Optimus flinched, slightly.

Ratchet carefully unclenched his hands. "I will do as my Prime commands," he said softly, and he saw it sting as clearly as Ironhide's barb.

"I do not ask lightly," Optimus told them. "I know the danger. But for good or for ill, this one thing may end the war at long last."

Ironhide huffed, turning away. "Letting us capture him was the best move Megatron has ever made," he growled as he left. Optimus turned to Ratchet, silently pleading for understanding, but Ratchet couldn't meet his gaze.

Optimus' back straightened, bearing this burden as he had so many others. "Ratchet. Repair him as best you are able."

"Yes, Prime," Ratchet said, and he left Prime alone.

***

"Prime said it was urgent," Skyfire said hesitantly, hovering not-quite-literally about the Ark's entrance. "Do you need to go somewhere...?"

Ratchet managed a little smile at the big bot, not entirely certain it came across as reassuring. "Not now. Come inside, Skyfire, I don't bite. I make no promises about Cliffjumper, though, he's insatiable."

"I heard that," Cliffjumper called from his lookout, but he sounded amused enough.

Skyfire followed Ratchet inside. He always felt he should duck, even in the main halls which were more than tall enough for him. They stopped outside the medbay. Ratchet turned to him and said, "I need you to keep him calm, as much as you can. And if he reacts badly, you need to restrain him."

"Why do you need me for this?" Skyfire asked. "I don't mean to complain, and I'm glad to help, but I can't think of anyone but Prime that you might need me for, and I doubt he would harm any of you even in the deepest confusion."

"It's not Prime." Ratchet's hand hovered over the unlocking mechanism. It seemed strange that the medbay would be locked at all. "I won't lie: this isn't good. But if there is anyone who will gain anything from this, Skyfire, I hope it is you."

***

Starscream woke.

Autonomic processes were already running, returning clear signals on everything. He wasn't sure if it felt good - it felt strange, certainly, and he couldn't quite pin why. Startup from deep recharge ran normally - he watched his own programming run through its tasks, checking internals before pinging out all its connections.

"Are you awake?" someone asked, and Starscream shifted his attention outside himself. Skyfire looked down at him, smiling gently. "It's hard to tell sometimes, when you're slow to wake."

"Mostly," Starscream murmured, reaching out to Skyfire simply because he wanted to. Skyfire shifted closer, his cheek pressing against Starscream's palm. Then Starscream's memory files finished booting, and his fingers curled into claws against Skyfire's cheek.

Skyfire winced. "All awake now, I see."

"Yes." Starscream pushed himself up, surveying the room. The Ark's brig, judging by the orange walls and energized bars. Entirely unsurprising. "Has Megatron bartered for my release?"

"I don't know. It would be unnecessary if he had - Prime intends to free you soon." Skyfire sat back and watched him inspect the cell anyhow. "He wishes to speak to you first."

Starscream pushed himself off the berth, landing agilely - but more importantly, without any unnecessary fluctuations from his gyros. He looked over his shoulder at Skyfire. "About my repairs?"

"Yes." Skyfire looked a little anxious. "They were extensive."

Starscream turned away again, as if losing interest, to inspect the energized bars. Skyfire added, "Your processor was damaged."

"Was it." Starscream pinged a fingertip against a bar, sparks jumping between the metals.

"Badly. Ratchet said the initial damage appeared to be extreme energon deprivation. That you'd operated with dry tanks until even the energon in your capillaries had been used."

Starscream didn't respond for a long moment. Then, slowly, he said, "We had planned that I would leech from your tanks on the return trip."

"Yes." Skyfire watched him, sorrow dark in his energy field.

"I did not remember that until just now," Starscream murmured. "There are many things I did not remember until just now."

"You were damaged in many ways," Skyfire whispered. His voice crackled, and finally Starscream turned to him - came to stand before him and touch his face again, stroking his cheeks tenderly.

"I am not damaged now," Starscream said. He was as wicked as Skyfire had ever known him to be.

"They're observing," Skyfire balked, even as their mouths brushed together. "The cameras - ah, Starscream."

"Let them watch," Starscream laughed as he climbed into Skyfire's lap.

***

"Optimus Prime." Starscream strode into the room, filling it with sheer presence - entirely on his own terms, as if Inferno and Ironhide weren't half a step behind him as escorts.

"Air Commander." Optimus stood, waving back the guards. Ironhide glared and didn't move a step. Inferno retreated to the door but no farther. "How are you?"

"Better. I suppose I have you to thank for that." Starscream sat as if his little console-chair were a throne. "Repairing me was a great risk. Should I be grateful?"

"It was a matter of morality, not power. I would be a fool to think you indebted for it." Prime sat as well, his voice calm and soothing. Starscream was hardly distracted.

"Perhaps not a debt, but you believed you stood to gain something from it," Starscream said plainly. "Did you think to hold it over me? Megatron will feel no gratitude to you, either. Or perhaps you foolishly hoped to impart a voice of reason to the Decepticon ranks?" Starscream laughed. "If Soundwave and Shockwave could not do such a thing, then it cannot be done."

"I hoped only to ease your pain," Prime said. Starscream had no answer to that. "If you must seek a subtler meaning, then perhaps I hoped the Decepticon second-in-command might help lead his people into peace, once his rightful mind was restored to him."

"Peace is a word written by fools," Starscream said, but his optics shone a little brighter. "Even if I should promise such a thing, you would be diminished to trusting the word of a Decepticon. We are built for war."

"You are built for power," Prime demurred. "War is certainly the most simple expression of that power. But I do not ask for promises or gratitude. For good or ill, we chose to repair you, and it has been done. We can only hope for the best." Prime stood, gesturing to Ironhide and Inferno, who stepped up beside Starscream once more. "We will see you off, I think. There is no reason to linger."

Starscream stood, clearly a bit baffled by Prime's words. "...Yes, you're right. Lead the way, Prime."

***

The Autobots were a curious people, and they'd gathered accordingly at the Ark's angled entrance. Starscream's gaze flickered over them, passing them by as little more than features of the desert, and they murmured amongst themselves. Ignoring his guard, Starscream strode past them to stand before the one who held himself a bit apart.

"I was wrong to offer you power and a throne, Skyfire." Starscream's gaze was piercing. "When my throne is built from Megatron's plating, there will be a place for you beside it. You will be my consort as I rule Cybertron."

Skyfire couldn't help a small smile. "And what do I get in return for this service?"

Starscream smiled back, all teeth. "I wasn't bargaining." He pulled Skyfire down into a hard kiss before firing his thrusters and sailing off into the sky, transforming as he went.

The other Autobots were staring. Skyfire tried not to look at them, but he could only look off after Starscream for so long.

"That was weirdly hot," Bumblebee said frankly, and Hound snickered.

"Nothing weird about it, that was just plain smoking hot," Cliffjumper said, sounding more than a little surprised.

"Is he always so..." Mirage trailed off, not entirely confident in how to end his question.

Skyfire shrugged his wings a bit, shivering off phantom touches. "Yes. Or at least, he used to be."

"And now he is again." Optimus was smiling, Skyfire was sure of it. He tried not to think of the video feed and who exactly had been watching it. "We ought to go inside, just in case Starscream decides to give us a parting gift. Besides, there's plenty of work yet to be done."

The Autobots' attention shifted to Optimus, much to Skyfire's relief, and they raised their voices in cheerful groans of mock dismay. Optimus chuckled, turning back to the Ark, and told them, "Come now, even Spike has better manners than this. Enough gawking at Skyfire."

Skyfire wished for Mirage's skills for a moment, but the Autobots filed back into the Ark without paying him another moment's attention, pushing and shoving with their usual camaraderie. Ratchet gave him a last, knowing look, glancing off at the sector of sky where Starscream had disappeared, before leaving Skyfire alone outside.

Skyfire stared up at the clouds. He had nowhere to be, nowhere in particular to go.

With a last look back at the Ark, Skyfire took to the air.

***

They were singing.

Skyfire rolled over his own wing, slipping sideways through the air-currents for the simple joy of it. Thundercracker and Skywarp sang over every frequency, unmodulated tones of delight and welcome. They sang as a new-formed trine bonding their third for the first time would. He knew exactly the moment they met with Starscream - the bright trills were unmistakable, and an instant later Starscream's clear voice rang true.

Skyfire skimmed low to the ground, rushing past trees and fields heedlessly. Their song was infectious, impossible to resist, and gradually the other Seekers chimed in with deep harmonies. A sharp cliff slipped by and Skyfire burst out over the ocean, wide unstoppable blue, and added his voice to their celebration.

There was a moment of uncertainty, crystal-clear notes held a shade too long, but then Starscream's voice dipped seductively into the lower frequencies with a hint of shortwave laughter. Skywarp trilled an unquestioning welcome, following his trineleader, but Thundercracker held an obstinate basso note.

Skyfire didn't know the song, but he had blundered his way into this already, and he remembered a long-ago trill (not so long, really) that he tried to copy now - he sang a song of supplication, entreaties and bribes. He promised the skies of a thousand worlds, the solar winds of a thousand suns.

Starscream sang the three notes of acceptance. Skywarp hesitated only a moment before echoing, lingering on the final note. The wait for Thundercracker seemed infinite but it could only have been a moment - the first note he sang dissonant to his trine, displeasure turned into wordless sound; the second note spoke of memories long past with its wistful whine. But the third note was high, bright hope, and Skyfire joined his pitch with delight.

A burst of his thrusters brought their flock into view, wheeling and darting above the waves with abandon. He swept to meet them as they danced through the sky.

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Date: 2010-08-02 04:25 am (UTC)
anontfwriter: (Default)
From: [personal profile] anontfwriter
Brilliant!

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Date: 2010-08-02 05:45 am (UTC)
eerian_sadow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eerian_sadow
sweet and touching and wonderfully written. excellent work. ^_^

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Date: 2010-08-02 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Beautifully done.

Starfire

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Date: 2010-08-02 03:01 pm (UTC)
sharpest_asp: Nate Ford sitting on a bench, Sophie Devereaux resting against his lap (Transformers: Decepticons)
From: [personal profile] sharpest_asp
+jaw drop+

I don't...hold to the idea Starscream is damaged, or maybe not quite expressed this way. However, this fic is a thing of beauty and joy.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-08-02 03:42 pm (UTC)
sharpest_asp: Nate Ford sitting on a bench, Sophie Devereaux resting against his lap (Default)
From: [personal profile] sharpest_asp
I intend to be certain [personal profile] katarik sees it. She's my Skyfire buddy.

It... is funny you posted this today. I think Friday [personal profile] ilyena_sylph and I were discussing the way we see the war shape with a world where Skyfire made it home with Scream...and how it becomes more of a three-sided war. I can glimpse bits of an evolution like that stemming from something like this.
Edited Date: 2010-08-02 03:42 pm (UTC)

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yukiko_angel

Date: 2010-08-02 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Breathtaking

here from merfilly

Date: 2010-08-02 06:58 pm (UTC)
katarik: DC Comics: Major Slade Wilson and Captain Adeline Kane, text but I can make you better (Between my fiery sighs & my burning eyes)
From: [personal profile] katarik
dfasjkfadjksfdsajkdfsjksdfajksdafjk HELLO THERE.

I tend not to think of Starscream as being broken, but this is easily the best reasoning for why he might be that I have ever seen, and I *love* that he's still dangerous, still ambitious, still *Starscream*. And now he's fully functional. Oh, dear. Dear Ironhide, I agree with you, this is trouble.

(And, well, every single moment with him and Skyfire just kind of made me do a little dance in my chair. OMG SKYFIRE, MY HEART. YAYES. STARSCREAM. EEEEEEEEEEE.) And and and the kiss in front of the Autobots! And Skyfire wishing for Mirage's ability is so him. *pats him onna head*

And then the trine moment! And TC all 'DO NOT KNOW IF WANT' is kind of perfect. And oh, Megatron, I would not want to be you here in a little bit.

(eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee i have a big stupid grin on my face and am still bouncing)

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Date: 2010-08-02 08:05 pm (UTC)
katharos: (bitch boots starscream)
From: [personal profile] katharos
*glee* Oh I love this fic! It is like a warm gooey quadruple chocolate fudge cake or pure loveliness!

The last section is especially beautiful - I love the big giant space shuttle knowing exactly how to seduce a trine. But there's so much to like! I love your Prime as always. I love how he holds to what is morally right in the face of what is expedient and the deft way he handled Starscream not allowing him any gaps to sink his claws into. And the description of Starscream's energon deprivation made me shiver. And Starscream being absolutly outrageous and dragging Skyfire into it! The image of Starscream caressing Skyfire's face only to curve his fingers into claws when he gets his memory back made my skin prickle.

This is going on my list of go-to feel-good fics.

(I really want to know what Skywarp and Thundercracker's reactions were. Did they know Starscream before he was damaged? And the reactions of all the other Decepticons!)

Oh, and Ratchet! Hoping that Skyfire would get something good out of this! So refreshing after all the fics where the Autobots are all insensitive bastards.

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Date: 2010-08-02 08:39 pm (UTC)
raisedbymoogles: (Default)
From: [personal profile] raisedbymoogles
*squeaking quietly*

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Date: 2010-08-02 09:33 pm (UTC)
ilyena_sylph: picture of Labyrinth!faerie with 'careful, i bite' as text (Transformers: starscream)
From: [personal profile] ilyena_sylph
OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS STORY SO MUCH I CAN NOT EVEN!!!!

Katarik and Merfilly already said basically everything I wanted to, but oh, oh, OH, this is SO FABULOUS.

That he's still STARSCREAM, still my beautiful, dangerous, ambitious, power-hungry war machine of a Seeker, just more competent and more driven...

Oh, I love you ever so.

Also, Cliffjumper and 'this war is making monsters of us all' and going to stand guard, and Ratchet and Ironhide fighting with Prime who won't/can't/must not do anything else... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

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Date: 2010-08-02 11:59 pm (UTC)
stainless: Megatron and Starscream standing in wreckage, reads ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US (Default)
From: [personal profile] stainless
Oh my.

I really, really like this.

Especially this bit.

"When my throne is built from Megatron's plating, there will be a place for you beside it. You will be my consort as I rule Cybertron."

Skyfire couldn't help a small smile. "And what do I get in return for this service?"

Starscream smiled back, all teeth. "I wasn't bargaining." He pulled Skyfire down into a hard kiss before firing his thrusters and sailing off into the sky, transforming as he went.


YES. EXACTLY.

And although in my headcanon, Skyfire is not at all a 'Con, that last scene was awesome.

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Date: 2010-08-17 07:24 pm (UTC)
ext_407633: (Prince or Ruins)
From: [identity profile] empty-geas.insanejournal.com
To avoid spamming your e-mail I'm going to try and fit all my squee here in one place.

Firstly, I love the indulgence of this story. Any excuse for Starscream to get more awesome and competent, and maybe even a little bit happy, is wonderful in my book. I particularly love the hints of culture toward the end. The ritual and joy of a trine bond. The seekers singing! And that it's enough of a celebration, of a step away from the ordinary and from the day to day of the war, that they can, at least for the moment, welcome one of the enemy to share in the joy.

Secondly, for They Will Never Dance Alone, I adore this story. I never looked one way or the other at the twins before this, but I do believe that this story has made a convert of me. The two of them are just so sharp edged and jaggedly beautiful as they're written here that I couldn't resist. Another thing I really enjoyed about this story is the language, the play with words and meanings and names. Demanding Optimus's response when they weren't satisfied with Prime's. The difference between 'anything they want' and 'anything they need'. Prime being political, and insightful, and dedicated to his followers as much as, or maybe even a little more then, the cause was lovely to see.

Lastly, the recs are very, very neat and appreciated. I'm still taking delight in working my way through them.

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Date: 2011-04-17 04:09 am (UTC)
white_aster: (transformers starscream)
From: [personal profile] white_aster
eeeeeeeee, oh Starscream. I am also fond of the not!crazy!Starscream, and the hope in this is great. And Skyfire joining the others, finally! <3!

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