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[personal profile] keaalu
This one's actually on time, though!

Title (chapter): Remember Me (05)
Series: Transformers, G1-based “Blue” AU
Rating: PG-13
Notes: In which certain old "friends" finally answer the phone, but didn't count on two teleports foiling their attempts at theatre.

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It really shouldn’t have taken this long for their call to Earth to be answered.

Starscream paced and muttered to himself the whole time. “They’re doing this on purpose. Keeping me waiting.”

“What if they’re just not there.” Already on edge, Skywarp had to keep his arms folded to keep from acting on the urge to punch him. Starscream’s stupid, angry electric field was polluting the entire building. “What if they’re on their way here, right now, because they know we’ll be stood here wasting time, waiting for them to answer the fraggin’ comms.”

“Oh, no; they’re there, all right. They’re doing this on purpose, to get at me. That’s what this whole thing is, some stupid… political… mind game.”

But it’s not your little sparks that have been turned into political currency, is it. Skywarp swallowed the words before they could escape, and instead said; “Of course it is. Mech, it’s not only me and TC that know the quickest way to get you flying blind into a situation is to make you think you don’t have personal control of it.”

Starscream glared at him for an instant, but apparently didn’t have an adequate counter-argument. “Are you implying I’m a liability?”

“I’m not implying anything; I’m saying it quite happily to your face. They’re trying to get you to rush into this because you’re easier to catch when you disconnect your brain.”

Starscream opened his mouth to say something that would no doubt have been particularly cutting, but never got the chance to vocalise it.

The terminal chirped and they both lunged for it, wings clashing.

“Hi, Starscream! Skywarp.” Dirge smiled the universe’s most sickly, insincere of smiles. “Oh, I’m sorry, did I keep you waiting?”

Starscream glared and folded his arms. “I have no desire to swap small-talk with an imbecile. Where is Megatron.”

“You want to get rid of me so soon? Aw, but we used to be f-…” Dirge stopped to think about it for a second. “Fellow cannon fodder!”

“And you remained it, you unimaginative blob of tin. Where is Megatron.”

Dirge propped his helm against one hand, contemplatively. “What do I get in return for reuniting you two old lovebots?”

While Starscream spluttered wordless outrage, Skywarp leaned in towards the pickup; “Just get him, Dirge.”

Dirge’s smile turned into a smirk. “But I’d forgotten how satisfyingly easy it was to get under the Screamer’s plating. Just once more, for old time’s-”

Now, Dirge?”

“Oh, fine. Whatever.” The blue mech reached up towards the visual pickup, and the scene abruptly skewed around to the left.

As it turned out, Megatron hadn’t been very far away the entire time. Just off camera, in fact. Listening in, apparently amused by the speed at which Starscream’s temper had flared. “Good to see some things never change.”

Skywarp was close enough to feel his wingmate’s field flush with a small additional storm of fireflies, angry and embarrassed. He set a hand on the leading edge of his wing. -steady, dude.-

-don’t you ”steady” me-
came the return snap… but the red mech seemed grateful anyway, a little of the prickliness easing off.

In the space in front of the big command chair, Megatron had arranged his trophies. Slipstream, now looking somewhat battered, and still cuffed, was half-kneeling half-dangling between Ramjet and Thrust, who held one arm each. Skydash sat by the warlord’s feet, curled up into the smallest ball conceivable.

“You certainly took your time, Starscream,” Megatron drawled. “Can I read into it that you’re glad to have got rid of these two?”

Starscream puffed himself up, arms stiff at his sides. “Don’t blame me for the fact the only followers you have left are a band of incompetents who can’t figure out how to work the communications terminal.”

“Haha! Figures that you’d know what one of them looks like, right Screamer?” Thrust chimed in; Ramjet gave him a frustrated shove.

Starscream ignored both of them. “You wanted my attention? You’ve got it. Let’s get to the point, shall we?”

Megatron shrugged, casually. “Old friends aren’t allowed to call each other for a chat, every now and then?”

“You have never been my friend, Megatron. Obstacles rarely are.”

Megatron’s jaw tightened, subtly. He directed his gaze towards Skywarp, as if to say oh really.

Get to the point. What do you want.”

“I suspect you know what I want.” Megatron relaxed back in his throne and wafted a hand, grandly. “I must admit to being… grudgingly impressed with what you’ve done with the planet. Not particularly impressed by the way you did it, but then I probably shouldn’t be surprised at your willingness to crawl on your belly if it’s a useful means to an end; I’ve seen it enough times.”

Starscream visibly took offence, rocking forwards onto his toes, hands balling into fists. “I worked hard for this and not once did I crawl anywhere-!” He had to make a visible effort to tame his increasingly shrill voice. “This is what happens when people trust that you’re as good as you say you are, and don’t treat you like an imbecile.”

“Well let’s hope those same trusting fools are equally forgiving, when they realise you have no way of actually protecting them from danger.”

“What precisely do you mean by that.”

“Haven’t we just stablished that you are not an imbecile? You work it out.”

If he was alarmed by the threat, the Seeker didn’t outwardly show it. “How many followers have you actually got left, Megatron? Since I defected and almost your entire air force followed me?”

“How many do I need?” The warlord smirked. “A handful of trained warriors should be plenty, against a district full of sluggish politicians and failed soldiers. And when they see how quickly you are defeated, I suspect the transition will be… somewhat peaceful.”

Tiring of the two mechs posturing, Skywarp put himself in the way; “Hey, Seem? You all right, mech?”

“Been better. Still alive.” Slipstream managed to croak, before Thrust took offence and delivered a quick punch to the side of his head.

“Who gave you permission to speak?” the conehead bellowed.

Slipstream cringed away from him as best he could, but added, hastily; “Dashisfinetoo!”

Thrust made a half-step closer, as if to assault him again, but Ramjet shoved him backwards. Thrust made an obscene gesture but settled, glaring. No words came through audibly, so presumably the white jet’s snap of annoyance had gone over their private channel.

Skywarp leaned in towards the pickup, a little. “Keep your chin up, eh? Don’t do anything stupid to annoy these guys. We’ll come and get both of you soon, all right?”

“…right.”

Megatron glared at the two coneheads. The microphone obediently picked up words which probably weren’t meant to have been broadcast; this wasn’t meant to be a social call, you two morons. Get them out of here.

“So much for two old friends having a cosy chat, mighty Megatron,” Starscream observed, flatly, watching as the three coneheads hustled the two prisoners away. “Let them go. They have no part in our dispute.”

Megatron’s lip twitched; he couldn’t quite get the smirk to fit as well over his face as it had done previously. Looked rather like he was biting down on the need to snarl. “No part? On the contrary. I think those… insignificant little dirtcrawlers… have become a convenient weak point for you. Buut… if you want them so badly…” He shrugged and waved his hand, irritably. “Maybe we could be persuaded to send them back to you. One limb at a time. Or less, depending on how generous we’re feeling.”

Skywarp stiffened. “If you so much as think about it-”

“You’ll what? Come here? Good! I look forwards to it.” The crimson gaze flickered briefly across the room. “Just as I look forwards to welcoming Thundercracker when he arrives. We’ll make sure he’s, ah. Well-cared-for, until you’re all here.”

“…what?”

“Don’t take too long thinking about your options, now.” Megatron flattened his palm and made a side-to-side slicing motion, and the signal abruptly cut off.

Skywarp flopped out on the couch, arms sprawling. “Well this sucks slag.”

Starscream perched awkwardly beside him. “…um. Are you all right?”

Skywarp knew his wingmate probably actually meant please tell me you’re not going to fly off and do something moronic, now but it was nice to pretend he actually just meant are you all right for a change. He blew out a long whistle of exhaust and pressed the heel of both hands into his optics. “Yeah. I’m good. Thanks. You?”

“Frustrated.” The scarlet jet hesitated for a second, and added; “All right, yes. Worried as well. I don’t have an answer for this whole mess yet. But,” he lifted a triumphant finger, “my computing capacity has never been better. We’ll think of something.”

Skywarp managed a small smile. “Better not be that same computing capacity that gets us into trouble almost as much as I get us into trouble.” His smile faded. “Just wait until TC gets home. Then you’ll have both of us to look after. It’ll be like Egypt, all over again.”

Starscream made an exasperated pfft noise through pursed lips, and rolled his optics, but it looked like it was mostly for effect.

Skywarp laced his fingers, and studied them quietly. “I know what you’re gonna say. My sparklings are always causing problems for you. The whole mess in Egypt was their fault, as well-”

“That… wasn’t precisely what I was going to say.” Starscream interrupted. “For one, it’s not just your sparklings causing problems, this time; it’s Thundercracker’s, as well.” A small smile curved the dark features. “I was going to say; this is what living with you feels like. Constant helmache.”

Now it was Skywarp’s turn to snort.

The rest of the family arrived en masse a breem or two later. Skyfire touched down incongruously lightly in the yard for a shuttle of his impressive bulk, apparently having followed Pulsar back from the station; the bike held the door open for him, and lingered there after he’d passed, watching while the remainder of the little party caught up.

Celerity had followed at a slower pace on foot, features drawn tight in a worried frown, carrying Thundercracker on her back, piggyback-style. The blue Seeker looked… dull. Grey and dusty. It was probably a measure of how bad he felt that he wasn’t even protesting at the undignified way of getting home; just let his arms drape down over her shoulders, rested his helm against her, and let her carry him.

Once indoors, she crouched and allowed the mech to slide gracelessly onto the couch next to his wingmate, before taking up her usual spot on the floor by his thrusters, resting her cheek against his knees. Thundercracker stretched out an arm and rested his fingers lightly against her antennae.

Skywarp could sense both of their static envelopes – stressed and tightly-wound, trying not to upset each other any more than they already were, and only succeeding at making each other worse. The teleport swallowed the click of annoyance. More importantly, he could feel the heat still pouring off his wingmate; no wonder the guy looked so drawn. He hastily fetched him a coolant mantle.

“So what did I miss?” Thundercracker finally asked, in a watery little voice that sounded nothing like his usual no-nonsense boom.

Skywarp let their wings touch. “Not much. Bit of posturing between Screamer and the Psychotron, but we didn’t find out much we didn’t already know.”

“You called him already?” Thundercracker turned and stared blindly through him. “You didn’t wait for me to get back?”

Skywarp rubbed the back of his helm and glanced away, guiltily. “Eh, well. Didn’t wanna make your migraine worse, you know?” he lied.

“…also didn’t want to let him know our trine’s strength is down by a third already?”

“He thinks you’re on your way already, mech.” Skywarp gave his hand a squeeze. “And the Dashlet’s fine. All right? We’ve seen her. Scared, sure, but she’s not hurt. We don’t know if he even realises she’s yours.”

Thundercracker sagged against him, like a deflating balloon. “Small miracles.”

“Ain’t it just?” Skywarp moved his other arm out of the way to allow a small, prickly body to climb into his lap. “Hey, Squeaky. Where’s Footloose got to?”

Pulsar offered a sigh and tucked up against him, stretching a small arm across his chassis. “Staying with the ambulance crew, for now. They’re better at getting her to calm down than me.”

Starscream settled gingerly on the drinks table in front of them, not entirely clear if it would hold his weight. He waited until everyone’s attention was on him before finally speaking. “We need to get a plan together, and fast. Megatron thinks he’s got us in a corner, but we’ll figure out how to escape.” A frustrated smile pulled his lips into a tight line. “Now. Has anyone got any ideas?”
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