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Screaming Blue Murder, Chapter 29

A/N: Aaaannnnd... 29!

The author humbly, humbly apologises (not! :P) for this one. I seem to have turned into a horrible scary fangirl, oh noes. :( (Should I promise not to make a habit of this? It just kinda happened… I probably ought to deny any responsibility. They made me do it!)

Anyway. If you want to avoid the fangirlspasm, you can probably stop at “an elite what, exactly?”

All right I’ll shut up before my author’s notes end up longer than the chapter. *skips off*

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Screaming Blue Murder
Chapter 29

“TC, stop.”

The command was so short, so curt, that Thundercracker halfway thought he must have imagined it. “Say again, Starscream? We’re just about to get the Tank ready-”

Just STOP them!” That time, the sheer panicky fear in his friend’s voice carried perfectly. “Stop them, now!

“Guys? Guys! Hang about, a minute-” Thundercracker startled forwards, as if stung, and waved his hands. “Just… stop. Stop.”

“What?” Winnower gave him a look. “Don’t we need to-”

“Yeah, we need to get it ready, but Starscream says to wait a minute.” Thundercracker watched as the rest of the tools got hesitantly replaced onto worktops. “I think he might have found a problem.”

How far did they get, have they deleted anything?” Starscream demanded. “Have they wiped anything at all?

“No, nothing. Why, Screamer? What’s the big deal?”

Starscream was silent for a moment or two, and when he spoke again he sounded shaky but relieved. “I had the foresight to scan Warp before I sent him down to you,” he explained. “Might not feel like it when I tell you what I found, but it was the biggest stroke of damn luck I’ve had in orns.” There was a shuddery sigh. “The Crisis has wiped out a good quarter of his programming, TC. If we work on deleting the fractals, he’ll still be a psychological cripple.”

Thundercracker felt something spasm inside him, shocked. “Primus-! Is it fixable?”

I hope – I think so!” Starscream actually laughed – nervous, but relieved. “Remember I was using Warp as my test model? I have a backup of his brain, pre-overdose, in the Vinculums. If we work things right, we can patch all the gaps with it.” He gave another relieved little sighing haah-laugh. “Until now I never paid any attention to that old saying, Primus watches over sparklings and idiots, but I guess I’ll pay it a little more heed in future! There’s no way Skywarp has got this far and survived this much without some form of divine intervention!

0o0o0o0o0

For some time, Pulsar had been half-awake, watching the technicians scurry about in the hazy half-light outside the Tank. The first breem or so of wakefulness had been uncomfortable, bathed in thick coolant vapours that frosted against her vents and made her pumps jitter, but the high-smelling vapours had vented off quite quickly once the system recognised she was no longer in full stasis.

She lay and dozed peacefully for a little while. Dreaming wasn’t something most Cybertronians did, and the concept was quite alien to her, but faulty memory records weren’t, and it looked like she was going to get a dreamlike “directed defragment” of all her badly-structured memory records before the program had completed. It was an interesting experience – almost like gentle, sleepy hallucinations. She knew she was awake, and knew that what she was seeing, what she was experiencing, wasn’t real, but it certainly all felt real, in this stew of mis-remembered voices, shifting blue light, and the shadows of wings. Quite a disproportionate number of wings, actually! And familiar purple triangles… She tried to dismiss it as just her unconscious mind’s way of implying she’d like the power of flight, but deep in her subconscious she already knew that dreams of flying were a pretty strange thing to have when the idea of heights alone nearly made her overheat with alarm. (Of course, it didn’t take much to work out what it all actually meant, but she figured if she ignored it, it would go away.)

She noticed that one of the sets of wings had a lot more solidity than the rest of the dark phantoms, and after a moment or two she realised that it was the real Thundercracker, watching her with a bored any-time-you’re-ready… expression on his face.

She stared sleepily up at him; now they’d rigged up some lighting and he wasn’t quite such a hard-edged crimson-tinged blot of shadow, he didn’t look half as ghoulish. “Hello,” she said, not quite yet dredging up the strength to do anything else.

“You back with us again?” Thundercracker offered a hand to help her up. “Everything operating properly?”

There was an instant of woozy bandy-leggedness as she got up faster than her newly recalibrated gyros could compensate for, but the world soon steadied back out, and – more importantly – even after her long period with no Blue, she wasn’t shaking. “Seems good so far,” she confirmed, relievedly, accepting a heat-regulating foil blanket from Winnower. “Just give me a little longer to check everything’s calibrated properly…”

“Check away.” The Seeker released her arm once he was sure she wasn’t about to fall over on him. “Let Winn know if there’s anything off. I need to go round up Skywarp from the next office.”

Skywarp had already looked up expectantly at the sound of footsteps. He had a sleepy look about him, and Thundercracker couldn’t help wondering if Starscream had slipped him a sedative of some sort. Giving him Blue when they were about to try and remove it seemed counter-productive.

“Come on, Warpy. We’re going to fix your brain, now,” Thundercracker explained, helping him down to the floor, watching Starscream echo the gesture at the other side so Skywarp was between them.

“Fix my brain…?” Skywarp asked, dreamily, half-walking half-dragged between his wingmates. “That’d be nice. I don’t like being stupid.”

“Eh, steady, now, Warp,” Starscream corrected, amusedly. “There’s a limit to what I can achieve, here…!”

“Yeah, but you’re brilliant,” Skywarp reminded, waggling a threatening finger, lurching his feet against the floor but not really helping them. “I bet you could do anything.”

“Come on, now you’re definitely talking nonsense,” Thundercracker teased, and thumbed his nose at Starscream’s resentful glare.

“Seriously! You could make me all kinds of clever,” Skywarp insisted, finally giving up entirely on actually attempting to walk. “Then you won’t have to complain that I’m stupid any more.”

“All right, well, maybe we’ll consider that later,” Starscream lied. “First, you need to take a little nap so we can get you fixed in the first place.”

Skywarp followed the line of his wingmate’s gaze, and subjected the Tank to an astro-second of scrutiny before noticing the lid. A hinged glass lid that was easy to see out of, but still. A lid. He put the brakes on, completely freezing up, fingers tightening into a vicelike grip on Thundercracker’s upper arm.

“Warp? You all right?” the blue Seeker wondered, anxiously.

“You said fix, not put me in a box! I'm not that broken that you have to get rid of me, I promise! I won’t let you put me in there-!” Skywarp was resisting them quite spiritedly, now, trying to back off. “Not in a box, not in the dark-… you can’t make me!”

“It’s not a box, Warp,” Thundercracker tried to reassure, coaxing him closer. “Just a… big tray. Easy to get out of, easy to see out of…”

“But it has a lid! It’s gotta be-… Don’t close the lid,” Skywarp insisted, softly, his arms propping stiffly across the top of the Tank. “Don’t, don’t…”

“What? You’ll overheat if I can’t close the refrigerant loop,” Starscream explained, trying to pry one set of purple fingers from their deathgrip on the top of the device. “Just… stop fragging about. Do you want to get fixed or not?”

“Don’t close the lid,” Skywarp pleaded, clinging weakly to the rim of the tank.

“Look, it’s a glass lid,” Thundercracker soothed, waving an arm on the opposite side of the glass to demonstrate it was clear. “And Screamer won’t do anything to damage you.”

“I don’t. Want. The lid. Shut,” Skywarp repeated, and he sounded worryingly pathetic.

Still wrapped in her heat-regulating blanket, Pulsar leaned closer to Thundercracker and murmured something into his audios. “Really?” The blue Seeker made a dismayed face, and nodded. “Eh, Screamer? Look, maybe… maybe we could probably get away with leaving the lid open this once?”

“What?” Starscream glared. “Do you want me to explain in detail how this damn thing works, again? I need his cortex to be operating at maximal efficiency, which means I need him cold.”

“So we’ll just have to waste refrigerant, all right? We can’t shut him in.”

“He’s going to be unconscious, for crying out loud!”

“Just work with me for once, Screamer?” Thundercracker leaned closer, and added, in an almost conspiratorial whisper; “We can close the lid once we’ve knocked him out, but we’ll never get him into it in the first place if he thinks we’re going to shut him in.”

“Argh. All right.” Starscream threw his arms up in a gesture akin to despair. “Skywarp? In. We won’t close the lid.”

“You’ll stay here with me too, right?” the teleport added, halting yet again, one foot in the tank and one foot on the floor outside.

“Yes, we’ll stay here,” Starscream reassured, resignedly, carefully peeling apart layers of armour to get to a small access port at the side of the dark Seeker's neck, and giving him a sneaky shot of Virathesis to get him fully sedated before the decontamination program kicked in and took over. “Come on, sit down before you fall down…”

Thundercracker waited until his wingmate was securely hooked up to the mainframe and deep in stasis before leaning closer to Starscream and murmuring quietly to him. The look of outraged disgust that pinched the red Seeker’s features told Pulsar exactly what information had just been passed on.

They did what to him?” The hiss was barely audible, but there was no denying the unadulterated fury in it. “I swear,” Starscream went on, a little more loudly, stabbing commands into the primary Vinculum so viciously it was like he was trying to drive his fingers right through the control panel. “If those Pit-spawned half-smelted excuses for spare parts get out of this alive after everything they’ve done to us, it’ll be by pure dumb luck alone.”

0o0o0o0o0

As predicted, Skywarp’s brutalised cortex took a long time to carefully piece back together. The flurry of red lights on the control board almost sent Starscream into a paroxysm of stressed arm-waving, but the bright diodes rapidly began to go amber.

Pulsar settled on the worktop inside the doorway to watch, huddled in her blanket. It wasn’t as if she had anything better to do – the station medic still hadn’t signed her off as fit for duty, and she got the feeling that he was deliberately waiting to see how she was going to respond in the longer term to the previously untested treatment before taking responsibility for saying yes, he agreed that she was cured.

“You don’t have to hang around, you know. I’m sure you’d rather just have energon,” Thundercracker reminded, some cycles later. His voice was quiet, as if leery of disturbing the Starscream-shaped hen still clucking around the decontamination computer and checking readouts. “Instead of just sit there pulling off the grid.”

“I know. But I’m going to wait until Warp’s better,” she admitted, softly, absently smoothing folds out of her blanket, the recharge hookup set snugly into the nape of her neck.

Thundercracker rolled his optics, exaggeratedly. “Don’t you think this silly Autobot nobility of yours is kinda misplaced?”

“It’s not nobility,” she argued. “I just want to make sure he’s okay so I don’t have something else to feel guilty about.”

“Doesn’t massively change the sentiment, from where I’m standing,” the Seeker observed, drolly. “You’re still here, and don’t need to be.”

“Unless that was your polite, evasive way of saying you want me to go away,” she challenged, quietly, “then does it really matter?”

Thundercracker pfft-ed and waved a hand.

When all the lights on the computer had finally turned a dim green, the agitated hen resolved slowly back into a dozy Starscream, who finally allowed Thundercracker to drag him away for something to get his energy back up. Pulsar slid from her table and moved a little closer to the open Tank.

Skywarp looked like he was in that semi-conscious dreamland that she’d found herself wandering in when the bulk of the rebuild was done – fixed enough to be half awake, but mostly still crawling around in a confusing haze of semi-‘dreaming’ as the final defragment took place. She settled up against the exterior of the Tank to wait for him to come around, perching her aft on the kick-stool Starscream had been busy tripping over earlier.

She’d noticed some time ago that the black paint had begun slowly scuffing away from the purple emblem on his wing, but not really paid it a lot of heed, until now. She traced a fingertip around its sharp margin, where it was gradually becoming visible again. Decepticon. Megatron’s Most Deadly. The Autobot’s mortal enemy. The words moved through her subconscious like an unfamiliar dirge. Her ‘mortal enemy’ had just spent the last orn or two clinging to her like a lost sparkling, and she wasn’t at all sure where she stood with him, any more. Pit, she wasn’t sure about anything, these days, not even all the things she’d been so happily convinced about for all her adult life. Even the inappropriate liaisons the rumour mill suggested she and he had been having didn’t seem quite so uncomfortably outlandish.

This can’t just be residual after-effects of being intoxicated to the point of not knowing where in the Pit I was, can it?

He finally stirred at the little touch, and she snatched her hand away before he had the chance to notice her boldness. “What are you doing still hanging around?” he challenged, groggily, seeming to instinctually know who it was, but didn’t seem too openly displeased to have her there.

“Waiting for you to wake up, so I can finally get some energon,” she lied, casually.

“They won’t let you have any until I’ve woken up?” One bleary crimson optic onlined to study her face.

“No, I’m just a stupid little cowardly Autobot who doesn’t dare risk it until you’re up and about,” she corrected. “If you can tolerate normal energon again, we can say I’m cured as well.”

“Ha.” The optic offlined again, and a half-smile played very thinly across his lips.

“And what’s ‘ha’ supposed to mean?”

“Mm, nothing.” He shook his head, trying to culture an air of innocence, but the tired smirk on his face was enough to say he saw it as a victory of some sort.

Pulsar stared at his feet, guiltily, leaning her chin on the arm that lay along the rim of the Tank. “Eh, Skywarp? Listen, I, uh… I know it won’t go very far towards repairing diplomatic relations between us, but… I wanted to apologise.”

One groggy optic came briefly online again, and studied her warily for a moment from beneath a lopsided brow before allowing it to go dim again. “Whafor?”

“Got you into this mess in the first place. I know, I know, I should have gone to get help the second they got me,” she said, softly, letting an arm trail back down to trace the margin of the emblems on his wing, outlining each individual blue square. “Should have swallowed my pride and gone straight to my sergeant, or something. I just…” She hrf-ed quietly. “Half of me figured I could do it myself, and the other half was just scared witless. I mean, you saw them, so you know what I mean.”

He made a sniffy noise in reply. “So you’re basically saying I’m the lesser of two evils? Thanks a lot, I really feel like a mould-breakingly efficient Decepticon, now,” he griped, melodramatically.

The light little touch on his wing became an annoyed thump. “I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to know that my outpouring of genuine emotion-”

“Angst,” he corrected, waggling a finger.

“-genuine emotion,” she repeated, a little more loudly, “is all being wasted on such a ‘thoughtful and respectable’ mech!”

He snerked amusedly. “Pfft,” he snorted, but the insult she was waiting for never actually came. “This is about as close to the front line as you’ve ever got, right? You little Auto-dorks in your quiet little neighbourhood where nothing ever happens. Stands to reason you’d frag it up a couple of times. And I bet you won’t do it again, either. Like… teleporting in the dark. I only did that the once.”

“Voice of experience, is that?” She snickered in spite of herself. “How much did you lose?”

“An arm.” He poked out his tongue. “Didn’t jump without a good triangulation, any more.”

“I thought you’d got entangled twice?”

“Hey, hey, that was a virus.” He managed to fold his arms sulkily without unplugging all the connectors. “I accept no responsibility for the second time!”

She smoothed exhaust dust off his wing, absentmindedly. “This, uh… this whole big mess… won’t stop us being able to finish the job here, will it?”

“Nah. And don’t think we won’t go back to being mortal enemies once it’s over, Squeaky, just because of a bit of fluff.” He gave her arm a little prod.

“Oh, absolutely. Wouldn’t dream of it.”

“If the pair of you are quite done chatting…” a voice drawled, from the doorway, and they looked up to find Starscream with a look of long-suffering impatience on his face. “I’d like to get the final test out of the way and sign you both off as cured of everything except idiocy.”

“Well, neither of us are withdrawing,” Skywarp pointed out, deliberately lacing his fingers behind his helm and trying to affect an air of lazy nonchalance. “Isn’t that good enough?”

“Just get your aft out of the Tank and over here, Skywarp!” Starscream scolded, making him jump and actually do as told with something like haste. “I can’t be absolutely sure that you’re not both just getting a hangover benefit from being on the mainframe,” he confessed. “If I know you’re okay with pure energon again, we’ll call that proof you’re clean. All right?”

Skywarp accepted the flask of energon from his friend’s hand with a look something like wary distaste. “Isn’t this a bit… you know,” he mused, watching as his wingmate ‘offered’ a second flask to the wary grav-cycle (and all but shoved it square into her chest). “Overkill?”

“Not in the slightest. And I don't want any nonsense! You will both take your 'medicine’ one way or another, and if I have to pour it down your intakes myself, I will,” Starscream threatened, waving a hand to encompass both Skywarp and Pulsar. “You would be best served by not arguing and just doing.” He humph-ed and backed down. “Buut... TC says I should give you some room, so I’ll be in the office down the corridor,” he added, gruffly, going to the exit. “Come find me when you’re done.”

For a while, the two former addicts just stared at their fuel. Skywarp plopped himself down on a convenient stool behind a workbench and studied the flask’s brushed aluminium sides, drawing a finger through the gathering condensation. “Don’t you dare tell either of them this,” he half-threatened half-confessed, in a hushed voice, “but… you know you said you sat there pulling off the grid for ages because you didn’t want to find out if this hadn’t worked? I’m kinda scared to do this, too, for the same reason. As in, if I put this off for long enough, it’ll magically fix itself.”

“I guess we should have figured it wouldn’t be that easy when the Blue didn’t magically go away.” Pulsar settled opposite, watching him.

“Yeah. Optimism isn't always a good thing, is it? Tell you what. I’ll take mine, if you take yours as well,” he offered, with a halfhearted grin.

She hesitated for several long moments, and examined her own tall flask with the droplets of moisture condensing on its chilly exterior. “Together?” she suggested.

“Yeah. The whole lot. Down in one. If we don’t purge it, we’ve got our proof, right?”

“Right. On the count of three?”

“Sounds good.”

“Who’ll count?”

There was a beat of silence, and he grinned, painfully. “Look, we’re just trying to find subtler ways of putting this off, aren’t we?” He closed his fingers around his flask. “I’ll count. Three… two…” He looked up and met her gaze, and there was a flicker of something indescribable between them. “One,” he murmured. “Bottoms up!”

Together, they upped flasks and drained the contents, banging the empty containers back down on the desk.

For a moment or two, there was nothing. They just stared at each other, waiting for the long, low, grinding awful sensation of pumps misreading toxicities where there were none, and-…

Then Skywarp began laughing, relief coming through like a bell in his voice, and Pulsar joined in after a moment.

“Ha! The stupid box actually worked,” he exulted, grinning all the way from one audio vent to the other. “I have never, ever been so glad Screamer’s such a geek-”

Impulsively, Pulsar leaned forwards across the table, and kissed his nose.

His laughter faded, and for a second she was convinced she’d mortally wounded his pride – but he’d kept his lopsided smile. “What was that for?”

Her pumps skittered, embarrassed, and her optics burned almost white in embarrassment. “Oh, nothing, I was just-… relieved,” she lied, frantically, keeping her gaze anywhere except on him just in case her optics got any hotter and burst. “Your brain’s fixed, and you’re not addicted any more.”

We’re not addicted any more, don’t you mean?”

“Oh, uh, yes. Of course.” She glanced up from beneath hooded brows, and grinned, embarrassedly.

“Now!” He virtually leaped from his seat. “To the war rooms! We’ve got to show those idiots exactly why they don’t tangle with the Decepticon air elite!”

“Pfft.” She made a raspberry noise at him. “Haven’t seen much elite from you lately,” she challenged, back on safe territory. “Just lots of sessions of getting your aft kicked. I mean, you’re an elite what, exactly?”

“Tell you what…” He gave her a sly, sidelong look. “I’ll show you.” Before Pulsar could even think to leap off her chair and away from him, he grabbed her firmly around the shoulders and-

Just plain teleporting was bad enough – Pulsar didn’t think she’d ever get used to the sensation – but the shock of finding yourself two miles straight up from your previous location was an incalculable number of times worse. Especially when there was no floor under your feet. There was a pump-wrenching sensation of accelerating free-fall for an astro-second or two, as gravity rediscovered them, and her gyroscopes whirled helplessly… then his thrusters casually kicked in and falling transitioned smoothly into flying.

She gave a squeak of alarm anyway, only just resisting the urge to bleep her sirens. “Primus alive-!” She yelped, and affixed herself as tightly as possible to his torso. “We’re so high up ohhh Primus we’re so high up-!”

“I know. Isn’t it fantastic?” He grinned, wickedly. He’d spent the last orn or so clinging to her, and now she was completely powerless to do anything but cling to him for dear life. “Whee. To misquote an old friend… power dynamic: reversed.”

“This is not funny,” she squeaked, trying to keep her vocaliser from offlining altogether, hooking her ankles up around his legs for a bit of additional hold. “Take us back down now.”

“Aw, but it’s nice up here,” he argued, dismissively, chasing a jetstream. “All that fresh cool air, all that freedom…”

“Look, I don’t care how nice you think it is, I don’t like it up here!” she ground out, optics offlined. “Please… take us down?”

“How can you not like it up here?” he coaxed, sounding genuinely confused and amused in equal proportions. “It’s a fantastic view. Just take a quick look-!”

“I’d rather not.”

“In all those vorns you’ve never even once seen your world from this angle.”

“And I don’t really want to! I can get holograms, I can look at still pictures, I don’t need to experience being in the stratosphere to know what it looks like!”

“You really honestly truly don’t like it up here?” He sounded like he was having trouble grasping the concept. “Why not? The sky is the only place to be! There’s nowhere you can’t go, you’re not restricted to moving in two dimensions… How can you not like this?”

“Well, that great big chunk of nothing separating me and the ground has something to do with it,” she gritted out, involuntarily tightening her grip at the reminder. “The sudden stop at the end isn’t too appealing, either.”

“Oh, psh! It’s not like I’m going to drop you,” he scoffed. “Even if I did, I could catch you again easily enough. One of the perks of being able to accelerate faster than gravity!”

“Was that supposed to be reassuring? Because yyeep-!” She tightened her grip and resisted the need to squeal in alarm as he tumbled into a little roll with a crosswind. “Your ‘bedside manner’ could do with a bit of work!” she finished. “Come on, please, this isn’t fair!”

“All the little boxes I’ve been put in lately because of my association with you Auto-dorks, and you have the cheek to lecture me on fairness?” he teased, poking his tongue out.

“But I didn’t put you in them!” She chanced a tiny glimpse out of the corner of her optic and noticed they were even higher than they had been before. Oh sweet Primus, he’s going to take me right into orbit at this rate. “Please. Let me down now, Skywarp,” she threatened, half-heartedly, unable to keep the quaver out of her voice. “I kept your claustrophobia a secret, the least you can do is not capitalise on my acrophobia!”

“Aw, you sure you want down? I mean, we’re still kinda high up, but… okay.” He relaxed his arms. “See you at the bottom!”

She felt herself sliding and shrieked in his audio, involuntarily, clutching tighter.

He grinned. There had been a flicker of guilt at teasing her, but only a flicker. “Hm, you changed your mind pretty quick, didn’t you?”

Got to convince him somehow. If I make it too hard for him to stay airborne, he’ll have to land. She put out a hand, concentrating on convincing her brain they were only a few metres up, and stroked her fingertips lightly down his wing.

Skywarp made a funny sound and actually stalled, dropped a good few body lengths before regaining control. “Hey, hey! Don’t do that!” he scolded. “Unless you want me to fall out of the sky!”

“Sorry, I thought you were the elite,” she teased, amused at his discomfort in spite of her alarm at the fall. “If you can’t even handle a little touch like this...” She traced her fingertips down a joint in his armour, where his wings attached to his sides, and felt him twitch. His wings vibrated very, very subtly, and a flash of turbulence ran through him, nose to thrusters. “Maybe you better take me back to land, just in case.”

“Oh, I see… This is war, is it?” he purred softly into her audio. “You might want to stop doing that.”

“Why?” she challenged, boldly, still pursuing her fingers down the sensitive joint she’d found. It was nice to get a little bit of power back on her side – he had her at his mercy, right up in the stratosphere where the frost had begun to twinkle on their derma, so it was nice to know she still had a little power over him in return. “I like knowing I can make you squirm. Why should I stop?”

He lowered his voice to an even softer murmur, almost drowned out by the soft thunder of his engines. “Because strike is always followed by counter-strike, in a war.”

Her fingertips hesitated. “What does that mean?” she wondered, warily, glancing sideways and meeting the sneaky, subdued crimson optics.

His lips curled in a half-smirk, and he dipped his face to blow warm air gently across her throat. After the intense chill of the upper atmosphere, if felt like he’d just washed her in flames.

“-aigh-!” She jerked against him, surprised. “What was-… don't do that-!”

“Oh, I’m sorry – I thought you just declared war on me,” he smoothed, innocently, rolling gracefully to coast on his back, changing his grip and teasing his fingers just down her torso until he found the slight ridge of the fracture there. “Maybe you just have a thing about this sort of inappropriate aerial contact.”

She managed a funny, strangulated little noise and twitched as his fingertips mapped out the curve of the fault; it hurt, but damn- she felt herself leaning involuntarily into the touch. “Cut that out,” she instructed, shakily.

“Uh-uh. All’s fair in war,” he misquoted, amusedly, ignoring the instruction.

“I think you’ll find the saying goes all’s fair in love and war,” she corrected, trying not to squirm. “You trying to tell me something, Skywarp?”

“Me? One of the Decepticon elite?” He placed the fingers of his free hand against his chest, innocently – and watched with a curious amusement as she completely ignored the fact he wasn’t actually holding onto her any more, just relying on gravity to keep her against him. “Hardly. Maybe you’re just trying to read something you want into this whole situation.”

“Ha! Don’t you think for even one moment that all this mess means we’ve somehow become friends,” she snapped, shakily.

“Like I’d make that sort of mistake,” he replied, in an amused sneer, but his fingers were still chasing a firm, investigative path along that old fracture in her torso. It hurt, but it made her squirm against him, too; her fingers made little clawing motions against his upside-down wings, drew thin marks through the frost that was accumulating. “Just face it. You’re not gonna win, Squeaky,” he whispered softly into her audio. “Better capitulate now. I might even take you back down, if you talk to me nicely.”

“Ohhh no… this… isn’t over…!” She huffed warm air from her vents. “Just one successful strike doesn’t-… ahhh, Primus-!” He’d rolled his optics and let his other hand join in teasing on the opposite side. It was getting difficult to free up the processor space needed for thinking. “Doesn’t win a war!” she strangled the words out in a rush.

“Oh come on. Look at you. You’re so beaten already, and you don’t have anything left in your subspace that you could shock me with,” he snerked, cruising lightly. “Silly inexperienced little Auto-dork, it’s really no contest, any more!”

“Actually, I have one last thing,” she retorted, softly, and matched glares with him for half a moment, before closing the last inches between them and stopping his mouth with a kiss – an angry, hard, teach-you-a-damn-lesson sort of gesture, closer to a bite than anything affectionate. She felt his hands tense against her, and another of those flashes of turbulence, a brief startled sputtering of engines and something like an instant of freefall-

She was gratified by the look of startled shock on his face for the briefest of astro-seconds after they parted, but it didn’t last. He gave a brief, hooting laugh, added the trick to his arsenal, and returned her gesture.

------

A/N: All right, you can all hit me now. *runs away!*

I have been dreaming of illustrations for this again. Why the heck do I always latch onto the stupidest little phrase for my subconscious to go "ha, envision this one as drawn now!" Skywarp =/= hot air balloon.

*headdesk*

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
_silverfox
Aug. 28th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Well, that was probably the only place they could get enough privacy. ;) ... Then again I'm half expecting Starscream to show up any time now yelling about them taking off without reporting the test results to him first.

(*secretly hands Skywarp copy of Seeker-Kamasutra* There, now get to work on that sparkling.)
keaalu
Aug. 29th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Bwahaha, indeed. Still not entiiiiirely sure what el Screaming One is going to say, yet... because I figure he'll certainly KNOW about it. ;)

...Poor Warp, all those voyeurs!

(You just want me to write "cut scenes", now. ;) I was going to leave it to the imagination, but, eh, hmm...)
_silverfox
Aug. 29th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
(LOL! No, I didn't. Honestly! I was just thinking 'hey, doing it in mid-flight sounds like Seeker Kamasuta'. ... I won't say no to any additional bits of fic, though.)
meirelle
Aug. 31st, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
I am itching to make fluffy fan art. :3

If I ever get around to it, I will totally send a link your way.
keaalu
Sep. 1st, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. :) *blush*

(Even if you don't, the gesture alone is warmly appreciated. :) *wiggles*)
jill_dragon
Aug. 31st, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Squeeeee!

*takes a deep breath* Okay now that that's out of my system I have to say I love this chapter and how you made the attraction between Skywarp and Pulsar cute without being overly mushy or cloying. I've been following your story for awhile and your characterization, particularly of the Seekers, is some of the best I've read in a long time. You also definatly win the prize for best OCs. I'd just about given up on reading about any that didn't make me want to roll my eyes or wish a horrible death on them.

A little more Prowl and Jazz would be nice aswell as their interactions with Starscream and co. But I know it's hard with so many characters to give them all equal screen time.
keaalu
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
Bwahaha, thankyouuuu. :) Comments like this totally make it all worthwhile. ;)

And I know, I'm neglecting portions of my cast. :'( I'm trying to be good and give them all equal air time, too! Oh well, next time, maybe a smaller cast...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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