“Arg! Put me back in my lab - this is torture!” Starscream kicks a heel against the table, leaning back on two chair legs to put distance between herself and her laptop. Across from her, Megatron doesn’t react more than wetting her thumb, flickering through the hefty folder in hand.
“When I do not include you in stock acquisitions prep, you throw a tantrum. When I do. You throw a tantrum.” Megatron glances up, unamused with the same weight of strain in her eyes as Starscream (though clearly handling it better). “You can either stay in your lab or stop complaining and do your job.”
A light threat, but Starscream had heard it all before. Now frowning, she knew she was clever in ways Megatron wasn’t and was an irreplaceable asset. Safe from the danger of being scruffed and tossed out on her ass.
Still - being locked in a conference room with a company’s entire history laid out in hard copy, dissecting every quarter of their thirty years of existence, was hardly a good use of said talents. They had Soundwave for this boring stuff! Starscream did her best work with already filtered and organized information.
“It’s nearing eleven.” She reminded, nudging her sleeve back to verify the time by the sleek watch around her wrist. “We’ve been here for over twelve hours and there’s not enough food on the company dime to convince me to stay longer.”
Usually if she whined loud enough Megatron gave in just to escape her bitching, but it didn’t seem to be working this time. Her employer seemed far too comfortable in the high back chair - dark eyes absorbing page after page of information. There was, after all, so little Megatron enjoyed more than building a campaign against companies deemed valuable and worthy of her attention. Starscream couldn’t help but wonder how many hours Megatron put into researching her before making a move?
She flicks a paperclip at Megatron’s head and acts as if she could not possibly be the culprit. Megatron rudely continues to ignore her.
They’re likely to be there all damn night if she doesn’t do something, which might be just fine for her obsessive employer. Nothing she would like more than research and make Starscream suffer. No, she won’t die like this! There has to be some way to distract Megatron. An alternative route of focus or at least something Starscream can use to escape.
There isn’t as ample opportunity to fake a fire as there are in her labs. (A useful trick when Shockwave gets nosy. The fastest was to induce panic and empty the nest.) It was equally as unfortunate that Megatron knew Starscream’s sisters too well. No chance faking a family emergency might work. If Starscream sent out an S.O.S. to TC, Megatron would probably harass Thundercracker until the truth came out. And while she could convince Skywarp to do a great number of stupid things... TC would step in like a buzzkill if she asked Warp to physically injure herself. Even if it were for the greater good: namely Starscream’s freedom! Ugh. she needed a drink.
…Oh. A drink. Starscream dwells on the thought while expertly manicured nails fold the corner of financial statements.
Nearly a year ago Megatron had so nobly driven her home as winter slush clung to the roads and Starscream had lied about not having her car. Her sisters had gone home without her, failing to spare a thought to their sister’s aversion to the season. So standing at the lobby, watching white vindictive clumps of ice fall from the sky, had left her nauseous. Running into her employer had not been planned, but Starscream was caught staring out the windows and allowed Megatron to make her own assumptions. Offering to drive her home without further conversation.
Inviting Megatron upstairs for “a drink” was simply out of curiosity. She wanted to see what her employer would do, or think, regardless of expected appropriate conduct.
Both had been flirting with this tension for some time at that point. Starscream had long since noted the lingering glances, the warm hand on the small of her back. She’d hoped Megatron was left flustered when Starscream returned the attention. Leaning closer than was necessary during their interactions. Brushing hands down her employer’s chest in the guise of fixing a “crooked tie”. Mouthing her pen during boring seminars or staff meetings just to catch the woman watching. Starscream hadn’t expected anything to come out of it. Merely fun for her. A way to break up the drone of a day with a touch of mischief. Something to quietly hold over Megatron’s head.
But the snow had begun to fall in thicker patterns during their drive to her building and Starscream had gotten lonely at the sight of it.
Months ago she invited Megatron upstairs for a “thank you” drink, and since then they’d been sleeping together at an increasing frequency Starscream could no longer file under “bored curiosity”. Of course they never speak of it openly, not even Starscream’s sisters were willing to admit they knew. The office building was “sacred ground”, free from such lewd conversation. No defiling or acknowledgment allowed. That was left to Starscream’s home or overnight business trips. Megatron still bothers to have Soundwave book two suites, knowing Starscream will not be using the second room.
It wasn’t exactly a bad arrangement. Usually sparked by heated conversation (often snarling disagreements) and Megatron’s uncommonly handsome face curling with irritation causing Starscream to decide kissing her would be better than slapping her. Sometimes.
There were no rules or rhythm to what they did. Either Starscream asked for a ride home, asking Megatron to get a drink with her - or in the case of business trips - Megatron would fall asleep with an arm or a quarter of her heavy body slung over Starscream. Both chilled damp and entangled, making sneaking out unlikely without spraining something to escape. (Fucking her boss involved a lot of heavy limbs and holding on tight whereas sleeping with her was like trying to wrestle a drunk titan. Starscream had fallen out of the bed twice trying to slip out of Megatron’s steel hold.)
Back to the moment, Starscream considers her approach. How much trouble would it be risking bringing up their “unspoken activities” at the office? It could blow up in her face, her boss assuming Starscream trying to leverage her responsibilities with sex instead (which she absolutely would be but she didn’t want Megatron to think so). It could trigger Megatron’s famous wrath and send Starscream down a very long road of groveling and scraping back favor with the woman. It had taken her a few years to get where she was now even starting in a positive light...
Eh. Either way it got her out of paperwork. Fuck it.
“You know what I need.” Starscream trails the question, delicate and soft. Watching Megatron still refuse to look up from whatever information that she hoped wasn’t more attractive than herself. The heavy brow wrinkled in concentration, graying hair beginning to fade from it’s strict coif.
“A drink.” She echoes the few times Megatron would recall Starscream inviting such “activity” as her low voice was implying. “Would you like to come upstairs for a drink?” - “I think my suite has that scotch you like.” and so on. Practically Pavlovian at this point. Does her best to look appealing and obvious, easily done for Megatron’s large appetite. Starscream didn’t even have to try too hard to snatch Megatron’s lust half the time, she was almost beginning to suspect her employer liked her almost as much as she liked the feel of Starscream’s hips under hand. (Doubtful. They didn’t really get along but her company was tolerable after a long fuck.)
Back to the bait. Pointed chin resting in palm, pinkie nail running gently down her own lip until Starscream feels her own teeth exposed. Seducing Megatron turned out to be a simple matter of promising to claw down her back in as few words or actions as possible. Starscream thinks, at this point, she might be able to make her employer slip should she begin filing her nails mid-meeting with the times Megatron’s has groaned into Starscream’s throat at blood being drawn down her spine. The hefty body bowing under Starscream’s clutches - practically folding her in half and growling eager sounds into her ear. Really nothing felt as powerful as having the mighty Megatron shudder while inside her...
Starscream is pleased by the immediate response as Megatron looks up to meet her query. Wetting her lips in a casual fashion and watching her employer trying to fortify herself against the obvious display.
“You know I don’t permit alcohol on the premises.” Megatron tries to deflect and Starscream keeps herself from laughing - not that Skywarp doesn’t sell hotel mini bottles out of her desk to the accounting division. Not that Megatron doesn’t already know and has raided Warp’s stash on a bad stock day. Or when law enforcement gets lucky and they lose ground...
“Then let’s go somewhere.” Suggests with polite grace. Hopefully somewhere specific like Starscream’s home where Megatron’s large hands wrap perfectly over her headboard as she’s…
“It’s awfully late for that.” Megatron isn’t stupid (sometimes). It’s clear from her forgotten reports and documents (and the way she’s staring at Starscream’s mouth) that she’s joined the real conversation they’re having. Starscream might just have to push a touch harder - anything to get out of this mind-numbing office work. Really Megatron should be thanking her for her efforts.
She’s about to recommend a hotel bar they’ve frequented in the past few months. Knows the rooms, knows Megatron likes the soft red bedspread of the expensive suites, when she notices her employer’s expression change. There’s something brewing behind dark eyes and that never bodes well for Starscream. Last time Megatron got “a look” Starscream spent a month working in R&D with Shockwave. Resulting in one improved long-range tactical ballistics system and both of them with bruised legs after kicking each other under the table for weeks. When Megatron had a clever idea that usually meant suffering for Starscream.
Abort mission. Abort.
“I actually know a place.” Suspiciously bright tone for the woman, Starscream almost jerks as alarms of self-preservation ring deafening throughout her skull. “It’s not far.” Not far? What does that mean? Starscream’s apartment is “not far” so the fact an alternative location even popped up in Megatron’s skull could only mean danger.
“Sounds wonderful,” Starscream tries to keep the smile but her voice cracks. “But you are right. It is quite late - perhaps I was being too generous with your time.”
Megatron is rising from her seat, sweeping her blazer where it hung on the back of a chair. Her button down strained at the motion of a thick chest as massive shoulders shrugged into the coat, barely containing her obscenely large body.
Starscream chewed her lip in worry.
“Well, If you would prefer to remain and finish up here.” Megatron keeps that look in her eyes and there’s this terribly (handsome) shitty grin of victory as she mocks Starscream. “But now that you mention it, I could certainly use a drink.” Megatron doesn’t even allow Starscream to stutter or embarrass herself trying to regain control. “Fetch your coat Starscream, it’s a chilly evening.”
“Of course, Sir…” she grumbles, all but limping to her jacket across the room.
They get as far as the parking structure before they begin to bicker.
“Give me your keys.”
“You’re finally going senile.” Starscream gasps and holds the keys to her chest for safety. “You’re not driving my car.”
Megatron’s expression, like her outstretched hand, does not change. In fact for a brief moment Starscream worries she’s frozen with the eerie stillness her employer exhibits. She doesn’t even blink and in a cautious thought, wondering if the woman has abruptly died standing up, Starscream reaches across the distance to prod Megatron’s shoulder. “Are you still breathing?”
Megatron moves faster than she should, wrapping a thick hand over Starscream’s wrist and yanking her forward with the gentleness of a ripcord. Catching Starscream’s waist with a heavy arm and in moments the Seeker finds herself lifted and flipped. Staring at the moving pavement held aloft in Megatron’s arm.
“Then I supposed we’re walking.” Megatron hums.
“Are you insane?! Put me down!” The struggle of her legs does little, trying to twist to see her boss’ face and hopefully some way out of this. It’s not exactly comfortable, her entire weight pressing down on the belt Megatron’s arm makes around her. “I’m going to be sick.” A poor bluff that doesn’t draw any sympathy and Starscream can see the EXIT sign of the parking garage drawing near. “You really would embarrass us publicly like this wouldn’t you?!”
“I didn’t bring my car and you’re a terrible driver.”
“I’m an amazing driver!” Starscream’s palm aches from the grip on her keys, prepared for Megatron to try to take them by force.
“Pilot. You are an impressive pilot,” Megatron corrects and gives Starscream a small jostle, adjusting her grip on the lighter woman. “But you can’t drive for shit.”
Starscream could let Megatron shame herself without hesitation. It was funny when the woman slipped, but there could very well be people outside of the garage, even this late at night. And Megatron was a woman of her word. If she said they would be walking somewhere - no doubt in Starscream’s mind she would be carried the whole way.
She usually doesn’t mind being lifted by Megatron, but this certainly is not the time or place.
“Fine!” Admits defeat with a very un-surrendering attempt to kick her employer in the leg. “You can drive!”
“Glad you came to your senses.” Starscream’s view shifts, carefully turned until her shoes hit the pavement and Starscream shoves Megatron’s ribs to put distance between them, pushing herself backwards instead a few inches. The bastard is like a steel wall. “Keys.” Palm outstretched once more, Megatron looking all too smug about it. Starscream has half a mind to throw the damn things across the lot, maybe they’ll fall into a grate and she can make a run for it before Megatron catches up to her.
She must have been taking too long surrendering the keys as Megatron takes one step into her personal space, the difference of their height an intimidating thing. Bowing just at the waist until the dark shadow of jaw comes too near and Starscream flinches.
“I thought you wanted a drink?” She purrs and Starscream is resolute in her decision to kill her one day. “Changing your mind? Shy? The paperwork is still upstairs if you have a change of heart.”
“Oh shut up.” She pushes the keys into Megatron’s chest and a warm weight settles over her knuckles.
Looking up to see her hand, lost in the gray fabric of Megatron’s shirt, the woman’s massive fist careful where it engulfs Starscream’s hand and the distance thrum of a pulse beneath the silk. Her own pulse does a stupid thing and she relaxes under Megatron’s grip. “You know it’s unbecoming of a CEO to use paperwork as threat against a subordinate.” Sniffs, trying to retain some pride while her employer so casually lifts her hand, still full of keys, seeming fascinated with a knuckle.
“And it’s entirely disgraceful of a Division head to use sex as a means to get out of said paperwork.” Starscream frowns as Megatron presses a small kiss to her bent fingers. “Now, stop complaining unless you’d like to change your mind?” There’s long enough of a pause, her tone cautious, that Starscream knows Megatron is truly giving her an out.
Yes. That would involve paperwork but it’s unfortunate her hold over her employer is not as strong as previously imagined. The idea that Megatron could willingly let Starscream walk out of this arrangement, no questions asked without so much as a word...not even begging for her to stay?
Starscream would like to see what a begging Megatron looked like.
“Lets see this place you’re wanting to show off.” Huffs, slipping her hand out just to watch Megatron catch the keys. Sometimes a decisive surrender is best when you’re outnumbered...and when your target is smiling at you like a cat already having eaten the squirming canary.
“So glad you’re coming around.” Megatron presses the unlock on Starscream’s keys and the woman jumps when the car beside them honks and flickers.
Her eye twitches. Megatron just remains relaxed and watching.
“You weren’t carrying me out of the garage, you were carrying me to my car?!”
Megatron looks at the back-end of the car, doing nothing to look less pleased with herself as she moves to the passenger side. Opens the door for Starscream with the grace of a wicked gentleman.
“So it would seem.”
“I hate you.” Starscream twitches, feeling both tricked and so entirely charmed that she’s furious. Certain now that they’re going to sleep together just to hopefully slap Megatron somewhere in the middle of it. Her boss never seemed to mind that.
“If you wreck my car I swear…!!!” Megatron shoves her into the passenger seat and with an unflattering yelp Starscream barely has time to draw her legs in before the door is shut. “You psycho!” She yells and apparently is too obvious, scrambling across the seat trying to lock Megatron out. The woman beats her to it, holding the door open with a disappointed look.
“What I was...just opening the door for you…”
Shockingly Megatron doesn't believe her.
It starts to rain around eleven-thirty, a light drizzle which Starscream pretends doesn’t bother her as she keeps checking her hair with the flat of her hand. Making sure every strand is back in place from being so roughly treated. Megatron doesn’t pay much attention to her after Starscream had laughed for five minutes watching her struggle to adjust the seat for her ridiculous height. Starscream refusing to tell her how until Megatron threatened to break “the damn thing”, leaving Starscream no other choice than to reach over and press the buttons for her.
Half folded over Megatron’s lap she noticed her employer making a face and Starscream only snapped for her “not to get any ideas”. To which Megatron only grinned.
She doubted they could fit in the car’s back seat anyhow. Attempting so would probably scratch the custom interior and Starscream was not about to explain to a dealership why there were claw marks all over a $140,000 dollar car.
Megatron, to her credit, didn’t fumble with the steering and Starscream felt herself relax on the drive. Watching the building lights slowly blink out as the hour grew later. The wet, black city speckling in distance and dark clouds - a strange comfort alongside the music she selected matched the engine’s expensive purr. Starscream’s frown growing deeper each time they passed a gold building or familiar street which looked expensive enough for their evening. Megatron hated scratchy sheets and cheap scotch and their options were growing limited the longer they drove.
That was until twenty minutes further into said drive Starscream realized they had gone pretty far from the city major and were heading further south than she was used to.
“I thought you said it wasn’t far, where are we going?” Finally dared to ask, peering out from the rain speckled window trying to gain visual on any familiar structure. Skyscrapers had turned to warehouses and long-dead smoke stacks. Crowded parking lots of toppled cars and scrap metal replaced polished buildings and the hope of clean streets. It wasn’t until she saw a few billboards promoting “civil authority” and “neighborhood safety” that Starscream could guess.
“Are you taking me to Kaon?” she accused.
“Not quite.” Megatron corrected. “Kaon proper is thirty minutes further, but the outskirts border Iacon.”
“Why are we going to Kaon?” She should have never gotten into the car. “What sort of place are you taking me?” It was then Megatron decided to play Starscream’s favorite game of “let’s stop talking” where Megatron went silent and Starscream wanted to tear her hair out. She was tempted to call Thundercracker to come rescue her as knowing Megatron she would not be getting her keys that night, but hesitated. Assuming if she tried to leave Megatron would certainly think less of her.
Not that Megatron thinking less of her was a huge sacrifice, but she was also in the middle of nowhere with an uneasy feeling of being abandoned despite Megatron still sitting next to her in the car. She was both furious and disappointed the night was turning into quite a failure that Starscream began to mourn paperwork. It must have shown (not that she was trying to conceal much) as Megatron reached down to place a hand on Starscream’ thigh as if in comfort.
“Hands on the wheel!” Starscream snapped and pulled her leg away, bitter now and feeling an unwanted sense of panic rising from memories. She had to remind herself that the rain was simply rain. It was late-fall. Not a snowflake in sight. “You take me across town and think you can play grab-ass while driving?”
“I need you to calm down.”
“Why should I?” Arms fold cross her chest and she’s not paying attention to Megatron or the car. Too busy alternating between grinding her teeth and chewing her lower lip. Deciding that Megatron is going to have to apologize something fierce if she ever wants inside her bed again.
“Because we’re here.” A flat and unimpressed tone while Megatron moves to step out and they, indeed, have parked. Tucked close to the curb where a brick building decorated in faded neon lights and graffiti signs stare her down. It’s almost insultingly cheap with the name missing. Just an ominous “ …’s Bar".
She reconsiders locking the car from the inside before Megatron steps around and opens the passenger door for her. Starscream doesn’t move. “Do you have to always be this impossible?” A touch of exasperation in her deep voice. Scowling down at Starscream with impatience. Good. Suffer. “Do you trust me so little?”
Starscream opens her mouth to answer with something scathing, but hesitates on the reply. Knowing full well she doesn’t not trust Megatron.
“Give me one hour. Then I will drive you home.”
“Forty five minutes.”
“Five minutes.” She repeats.
“And you wonder why I don’t permit you at negotiation tables.” Starscream notices the smallest smile pulling at her employer’s mouth. “Thirty minutes.”
“Thirty minutes, and you use your senior citizen discount to buy all my drinks.” The smile was very quickly gone but Starscream at least felt better for it.
“Thirty minutes.” Megatron lowered her hand, a theme for the night, to shake on their deal. “And I’ll buy you anything you want inside.” Starscream took her hand and let herself be guided out, having decided whatever mess they find inside the dive bar Starscream was going to walk out with having her purchase something ridiculous. Even if it meant making Megatron hold a damn barstool on the drive home.
As expected the bar was smoky and smelled of old wood. Better than stale beer and piss as Starscream feared. And she would admit, upon immediate inspection, the bar held a simple charm. Clean tables and chairs, few occupied by bodies cast in dim light from overhead gold lamps. Posters and LED shapes tacked to the walls while wide ceiling fans lazily circled above - each blade painted with a pin-up girl blowing a kiss.
The bar at least appeared well-stocked, familiar bottles which Starscream could recognize as they approached. Sidestepping a few tables where scattered patrons spoke in low voices and tried their best not to look up at the expensive suits strolling in. Starscream not able to stop herself from baring teeth at a dusty old woman who seemed confused at her appearance.
“Mixmaster.” Megatron reached out a hand as the bartender took notice, brightened, and shook in return.
“That cannot be her name,” Starscream complained to the side, already leaning over the bar with the confidence that got her skinny ass through school with minimal troubles. The bartender took one look at her and then Megatron and nodded.
“You want the usual?” she seemed excited. “I do have a few new recipes I think you’d like. You see I started with pure grain and…”
“Excuse me,” Starscream, hating being ignored, turned herself to address the bartender with the stupidly on-point name. “I don’t know what the 'usual' is and whether or not I’ll like it. Please direct all questions of order to me. Megatron is just paying.” She took a moment to appreciate that the bartender’s arm was thicker than her own thigh. Blatantly sizing the woman up from what she could see over the bar. “Thank you, handsome.”
“The usual is fine.” Megatron physically put her body between them, trying to herd Starscream off her perch with a frown. “You’ll like it.”
“If you make me drink cheap beer I won’t wait to kill you in your sleep tonight.” She noticed Mixmaster put two and two together and darkened with a flush. Starscream gave her a wink just to make Megatron glance over her shoulder and whatever expression she wore brought the bartender to jump.
“I uh..I’ll get right on that.” Mixmaster ducked down and began moving bottles about while Megatron took Starscream by the arm, leading her further down the bar and stopping just short of the double doors towards the kitchen.
“Behave yourself.” Warned, but there was the smallest frazzle to her. Ah, jealousy looked so sweet on her noble face.
“I’m just being friendly.” Teased, deciding not to struggle against Megatron’s grip which seemed to tighten slightly. In return, Starscream checked her watch for how much time she had left (27 minutes). “Bring people here often?” Curious, honestly. This place wasn’t somewhere she imagined Megatron to frequent with her obsidian and steel aesthetic. She had a reputation to maintain in Iacon - and it was practically social suicide to linger in Kaon unless you were writing a charity check.
Over Megatron’s shoulder Starscream noticed a weary poster, framed with Iacon’s cityscape with some hopeful phrase of a Prime past. It was almost insulting how glittering and perfect the promotion was considering what lurked in Iacon now was Megatron.
“Not for a long time.” Megatron answers, voice lower than Starscream expected and it draws her eyes upwards. Surprising what dim light does for the woman’s face structure. Somehow she’s even harder at the edges. Broad cheekbones that tuck into the corners of her lips. Firm, still mouth that only speaks when something needs to be said. Always so watchful, dark eyes taking in the other patrons of the bar with insight forged by unknown trials and Starscream thinks she really could hate Megatron if she wasn’t so fascinated by her.
The dive bar is somewhere a woman might go after long hours of hard work to relax. Drink a beer with friends and hide from the sunrise and the same back-breaking responsibilities that the new day would bring. She wondered when Megatron was last here - seemingly still friendly with the bartender. Who would she bring to such a place? Soundwave? That glorified secretary was always on Megatron’s arm - their comradery something old and well forged. It bothered Starscream for reasons unknown...
Their drinks arrive with a case of beer that cause Starscream to throw a fit when Megatron shoves the cans into her arms and tells her to “march”. Motioning with twin glasses of almost violet liquor towards the double doors. Megatron still has her keys so Starscream follows bitterly adjusting the cold, wet six-pack in her arms. Trying to keep up as Megatron moves through the small kitchen. Knowing the path too well she doesn’t even bother waiting for Starscream before ascending a stained staircase. Her figure vanishing in shadows as she goes.
“Oh look.” Starscream’s tone was purposefully bland once she reaches the top and Megatron props the door open behind them. “It’s a fucking roof. Romantic.”
It was just that. The rooftop framed with a brick parapet, cement brushed with a black river shine from the rain still dripping from the midnight sky. A rusted metal awning stretched across half the rooftop, poorly shielding three metal chairs and a table from the worst of the rain. But everything was still damp and cold as rooftops spill gray smoke from heaters across the Kaon skyline. Dark clouds and factory smog block out the stars and Starscream felt claustrophobic outside for the first time in her life and for a woman who would never stop flying if a jet would stop running out of fuel: it’s hell.
“Here.” Megatron takes the beer, setting it down on the table to replace Starscream’s (now cold) hands with the glass of dark liquor which now looks black with the surrounding night. She must have looked as disgusted as she felt. “If you try it I’ll give you back your cigarettes.”
“You took them?” She instinctively pats down her jacket pocket to find that indeed the metal case was gone.
“When did you--?” Impossible. Megatron had fat, slow, talentless hands! Starscream should have noticed!
(Well that was a lie. Megatron’s hands were anything but talentless…)
“Try it,” she repeats and moves to brush rainwater from the nearest metal chair with a bare palm which was - strange to see. All of it. Megatron in a dive bar on the low end of town - pulling out her own chair without Soundwave brown-nosing to do everything for her. Even Starscream had to pause from stopping Megatron: trained that nothing should inconvenience her employer.
She watched Megatron open a beer with the snap of one hand and her world was blown.
“What’s in this drink and will cause me to lose my voice?” Starscream asks while examining the glass with a scientist’s gaze. Doing so left her side brushing Megatron’s hip and she stayed close when her employer rolled dark eyes and almost smiled.
“Only if I’m lucky.” Megatron reaches back, replacing her cheap can with the pint glass behind her, raised it in Starscream’s direction. “Cheers?” Their glasses give a harmonic clink and Starscream dares to take the smallest taste.
And regrets it immediately.
It burns on her lips, her tongue. Her voice rasping when she swallows and the scalding liquor taste burns her stomach into a knot. She scrambles to grab Megatron’s beer, needing something to wash it down and hopefully out of her system, all while Megatron laughs slow and unsympathetic. She almost gags on the sour taste of beer but it was less heinous of a punishment than whatever it was Megatron just had her try! Swallowing mouthfuls in desperate hope of relief from the acid burn across her tongue.
“Slow down,” Megatron reaches to tilt the can back and Starscream barely stops a very un-adult hiss from escaping her mouth. “It’s something you get used to.”
“Why would I want to get used to that?!” Spat and licks her mouth hoping to scrape the remnants of the taste from herself. “If you enjoy that clearly you’ve been poisoned. Brain damage. It finally all makes sense.” She glares something fierce at the glass mocking her from the damp table. Starscream felt the impulse to swat at it.
“I do seem to enjoy things that want to kill me.” Megatron comments, settling back into the chair uncaring of the rainwater still on the surface. “What’s our time?”
Starscream checks her watch. They had less than fifteen minutes. “Twenty minutes.” If Megatron knew she lied - her expression showed nothing.
“Then sit down, enjoy the view.” She motions almost sarcastically to the gray and black night of nothing but monstrous shapes of factory spires in the distance. Starscream held her beer in two hands, sick with the taste but sipping to ensure nothing of the previous burn returned.
“It’s all wet.” Whines looking at the second chair. Megatron gave her a look. “Well it is! And you might be fine getting rust and water all over you I’m not--” A quick hand tugs on her jacket, drawing her in until Starscream stood between Megatron’s wide, thick legs speckled with dirt and rain water. Another firm tug and there was no need to guess what Megatron was suggesting.
“You old pervert.” She refused to sit, drinking the beer like a woman who wasn’t dying at the taste to avoid the indignity of sitting on her boss’ lap. (In public, at least.) “You really bring me to the nicest places.”
“Fine.” Megatron stands and for a minute she thought maybe they could leave, abandon the mystery of “what the fuck” to another day. But instead Megatron sheds her coat and lays it back in the second seat, motioning for Starscream to sit. “There. Now you can’t complain.”
“Oh. A gentleman.” She ducks before Megatron could swat the back of her head, sinking into the (warm) fabric and trying to ignore the uncomfortable shape metal beneath her. “Was that so hard?”
The grind to Megatron’s teeth said ‘yes’ but Starscream set aside the beer and pressed fingertips to the woman’s wrist while she was still in reach. “Now, why the hell are we in Kaon instead of a five star hotel with room service. Or my personal favorite, my home where my bed is. You know it pretty well by now, isn’t it a bit nicer than...” she waves hands a bit to motion to the entire world - until Megatron frowns, possibly pushing too much after the almost kind gesture.
“Honestly though,” she presses and Megatron seems distant just briefly, glancing off to the dark skies and cold summer breeze preparing to welcome the imminent beginnings of Fall.
“Does there always need to be an ulterior motive?”
“Yes. Always.” Starscream nods a touch emphatically. It seemed to amuse Megatron. “Just. Tell me.” Glances at her watch, nine minutes. “You have twelve minutes.”
“I used to live two blocks from here when I was a younger woman.”
Oh. That’s not exactly what Starscream was expecting.
“The woman Mixmaster took over for used to pay me to sweep after hours. Keep any change I found, took home whatever was left in the kitchen. If I needed somewhere to spread my books out while I was in school - I had the whole bar until they opened.” She took a drink of the purple liquor without a flinch and shifted from Starscream’s gaze. A recognizable sign of discomfort as Starscream realized Megatron was willingly sharing with her.
Not that Starscream believed there wasn’t a thick dossier in Soundwave’s officers filled to the brim with her own personal information, but there was practically no information on Megatron. Public or otherwise past her graduating class and rise to the titan of Iacon as the world knew her.
Once or twice Megatron’s notably Tarnish accent slipped past. Usually on late, exhausting nights in the office or early mornings struggling to wake in Starscream’s bed. It was something Starscream knew better than to mention. She only knew what happened to the city from her history books and even then the tales of riots and domestic bombings felt murky. The siege of Unicron a distant mark on the dead city. But those writing history chose the hero and left the citizens of Tarn as a disgraced and dangerous smear of history.
“This is actually my business. I own it now. One of the first financial splurges after Decepticon became a self-reliant entity.” Megatron was certainly proud of the venture, almost glowing when she spoke. “It’s a money pit. But it’s mine.” Starscream wonders about the bar’s missing name and if that was Megatron’s choice to leave it empty.
Thankfully Megatron did not look to Starscream with expectation of an equally earnest response, and neither would be fooled into thinking this moment would exist past this rooftop. This information would wash away like the scent of alcohol on their skin by morning.
But still. It was nice to have.
“I brought you here because I wanted to. Simple. No motive, no tricks. Nothing you need to grow paranoid over.” She knew Starscream too well. “It is a place I like to be, and it is nice to be here with company. Even for one drink.” Megatron finishes the heinous drink with a long swallow and Starscream swears something like sludge follows at the bottom of the glass. Yes. Certainly not drinking any more of that crime.
Then there’s Megatron looking noble and kind beneath the black cloudy sky. Hair the same mixture of black and gray, her suit pale and soft looking as her eyes. It’s stupid really. Starscream had only intended to sleep with her boss, have fun and maybe gain a better parking space for her work. Better yet cause her parents to roll in their graves, and regret not following through on their threat to disown her.
Instead she’s sitting in a wet chair on the roof of a shitty bar. Listening desperately to Megatron as she reveals nothing in particular about herself. Idle memories and the smallest glimpse of what created this titan.
Megatron has touched her with hands rough with overworked palms. Has laid over her body with skin slashed and battered with scars tangling across the surface like lightning or wild fire - and it drives Starscream mad she doesn’t know the story to each and every one.
“I believe our time is nearly up.” Megatron announces, looking at her own leather banded watch for confirmation.
“I said twelve minutes.”
“You were lying.” Megatron raises a brow.
“Yes I was.” Starscream uses a trick from college to open another can of beer with the underside of her father’s ring. It's two sizes too large but Starscream will never have it adjusted. she pulled it off the man’s corpse when he lay in the open casket, ignoring the horrified look of the priests and the lawyers. “And since I won’t touch that hellish concoction - and that beer was yours technically: This is my first. And I was promised a drink.”
“Ah,” Megatron appears, perhaps surprised by the statement, but nonetheless accepting of the change in rules. “I can’t argue with that.”
By the time the bar closes they have the eleven empty cans of beer lined up on the waist high wall keeping them from toppling off the roof. Starscream’s mouth was partly numb with the sixth purple “Gladiator” Megatron had Mixmaster bring up to them and the bartender had to ask permission to lock up and leave for the night.
To which Megatron said “no” and told her to wait downstairs in case they needed her further.
Starscream found this impossibly funny considering the unfortunate bartender had to ask permission to go home while Megatron had Starscream in her lap and didn’t seem to know where to look - almost running into the propped door when she pouted down the stairs. Starscream then couldn’t contain her laughter, pressing her face into Megatron’s warm throat to stifle her indignant giggling while Megatron tried to shush her, while also chuckling deep in her chest.
“It’s two am.” Starscream eventually noticed, holding Megatron’s hand in her own, examining the spots of white scar tissue over darker skin. Pressing her thumb into unmoving calluses that seemed like marble in a drunken Seeker’s gaze. “And I cannot drive us home.”
“Hm.” Megatron’s throat made a sound but her closed mouth and eyes did not move until Starscream shifted in her lap, trying to stand. “Stop.” Wide spread hands were quick to close over Starscream’s hips, having shed her jacket, she felt the warmth through the silk shirt and rested her own grip on Megatron’s wrists. “Has it been thirty minutes already?”
Starscream snorts, settling a knee on the bit of chair between Megatron’s legs. Leaning down to kiss a damp brow from alcohol and a humid cold night.
“You have one minute left. Then I’m calling a cab and going home.”
“One minute?” Megatron muses, tongue darting to wet her lower lip and Starscream remembers (with a sharp grin) that was exactly what had gotten her into this mess in the first place. Drunk on a rooftop of Megatron’s oh-so-secret childhood. Left to drink and chat with her employer like this was entirely normal. Spend hours in drizzling rain until their bodies were soaked and clammy while Megatron pointed across a dark skyline. Able to still name businesses from her youth, old friends now dead, brutal stories of robberies or rambunctious games she and her college mates used to play.
Starscream absolutely hated she didn’t hear one word of it. Far too busy swimming in the alcohol haze and watching Megatron’s jaw move with each story as passionate as the last. The stretch of a damp shirt clinging across wide shoulders, the weight of her when Megatron laid a hand across her throat, just to hold on and follow her pulse.
“Whatever shall we do with one minute?”
“Old lady, you're insatiable."
“Perhaps I’m looking for something specific to satiate me.” One eye creeps open with the question and Starscream pressed a hand over it.
“Oh, and what’s that?” Starscream huffs, feeling Megatron’s lashes flicker beneath her palm like a trapped moth.
“Don’t you know?”
When she speaks it’s like a mountain sighing after a long sleep. Mouth brushing the delicate skin of Starscream’s wrist before great hands reach to pull Starscream across her lap. Legs spreading over the girth of Megatron’s hips and trying to find balance while the world shifted on sour liquor. Settling down in time for a mouth, sticky with alcohol, to find her.
Starscream parts her lips obediently, seeking the familiar rasp of Megatron’s lips - the demanding motion of her mouth as they fit together too perfectly. Cupping a jaw and shivering when tongues meet and the taste of the foul drink is almost sweet on Megatron’s mouth. It’s impossibly warm for the cold she feels on her arched back, bowed into Megatron’s torso, squeezing hips down against the thick midsection while broad hands press hard into her thighs and almost lifts her to draw her closer - distracted only by their mouths loudly sliding together in the gasping quiet of the night.
She swings arms around Megatron’s shoulders, desperate to drag her in. Roll against the hard muscle and unmoving shape of the woman, claw at the edges of Megatron’s neck above the wrinkled collar. Breath catching in her throat when hard hands snake back down her hips. Squeezing her ass at the same time a shaky moan chases Starscream’s lips from Megatron’s sigh.
Dizzy while she can only smear her lips across the harsh ridge of Megatron’s cheek, bite the edge of her jaw where the pulse tickles her lip - hard enough that Megatron's grip bruises her thighs in reaction. The following growl like a warning before Megatron is pawing back down her legs, a blossoming heat pouring over Starscream’ torso and hips shaking where the woman palms across her lap. The gentle chuckle surprising and hungry and liquor drenched that Starscream almost forgot where they were and what they were doing.
“Hey-” Speaks into Megatron’s mouth, bumping her lip into a row of pale teeth. Heavy body rumbling beneath her, a complaint, and Megatron finds new focus licking Starscream’s pulse. Driving Starscream to dig nails against the woman’s shoulders in the struggle to speak. Fighting with herself if she wouldn’t regret not letting Megatron just fuck her on a rusted, rain damp table. The weight and heat of smothering hands making it nearly impossible to think. “Wait-” she gasps, squeezing thighs around Megatron’s torso trying to ground herself. “Megatron - stop.”
It shouldn’t be so easy to stop her. A single word almost lost on the brush of their lips, small and hesitant, but it stills Megatron like a plug ripped from the wall. Immediately the tense body goes still, hands freeze across the thighs and the way Megatron is looking at her Starscream believes might kill her.
No one has looked at Starscream that way before, and she means no one.
“You want to go home.” Not a question. Good. Megatron isn’t too drunk but her accent is slipping once more.
Starscream uses her hands to reel the woman’s skull back, kisses her soft and brisk while Megatron keeps talking. “Call a cab. I’ll have someone bring your car in the morning.” She sounded almost disappointed. “I can have Mixmaster take me home.”
“Are you stupid?” Starscream huffs, stroking quiet lines down Megatron’s cheeks, watching her like something might break if she looks away. Finding she is actively afraid something will break if she chances looking away.
She was just supposed to be screwing her boss...not whatever this was.
“If I call a cab you’re coming with me.” She kisses the damp brow quickly and feels Megatron’s hands struggle against her hips, uncertain what to do. “You’re not getting rid of me that quickly, you get to take care of my hangover tomorrow.”
“Oh?” she sounds tired, but the rush of warm air in the following sigh settles something worried in Starscream’s chest. Maybe she can feel the woman smiling against her throat, maybe it’s her imagination. “I suppose it’s a worthy punishment.”
Megatron acts incredibly sober and restrained when the cab arrives.
It lasts fifteen seconds into their drive before Starscream has to adjust her position to keep her employer from falling over in the seat.
Never imagined she might have a higher alcohol tolerance than Megatron of all people...though Megatron did drink four of the sludge hell drinks and honestly Starscream wasn’t sure if two were safe to consume. Not that Starscream was anywhere near sober, but she had a terribly good poker face and when trying to keep your boss from falling over into your lap in public that was a good thing. She gives the driver her address and hopes Megatron doesn’t pass out before they arrive - as she is not going to carry her heavy ass upstairs and doubts she could get away with leaving her on the sidewalk.
They're halfway to their destination before Starscream realizes she doesn't have Megatron’s coat.
“Where are my keys?” She flicks Megatron in the eye when the drunken behemoth of a woman doesn't respond. “Megatron!”
“In my coat.” She grumbles, frowning with all of herself, trying to return to blissful rest against a cold car window. Starscream was going to strangle her. The night guard of her apartment building left at two am and she didn't have means of entry otherwise! A perfect way to round off the night it seems.
Starscream digs through her own pockets for her phone, stabbing numbers while also redirecting the cab further across town. Promising her the clip of cash from Megatron’s pocket if she doesn't complain while her phone continues to ring.
Thundercracker meets them at the street, looking disheveled and more focused on helping Starscream peel Megatron out of the cab than yelling at her sister for the late-night visit. Starscream doesn't even judge her for the dog slippers she's wearing in public in return for not asking questions. Wanting this embarrassing ordeal over with as soon as possible.
“Primus Screamer, what did you do to her?!”
“Shut up, she did this to herself!” Starscream almost drops Megatron on her face. “How was I supposed to know our boss was a lightweight?!”
“Icanhearyou.” Megatron growls but struggles to get her legs steady, almost knocking the procession over in the hallway as Thundercracker manages to get the apartment door open. They spill inside and Megatron’s full weight sends Starscream almost tripping into the wall, catching herself on Megatron’s shoulder and thankfully Thundercracker was busy trying to lead them back to the spare bedroom that she doesn’t notice Megatron trying to kiss her sister.
Starscream is hardly gentle letting Megatron drop on the bed, watching her employer scrub what is likely a brewing headache beneath tired hands. She seemed miserable already. Good.
Glancing over her shoulder to TC looking rather hesitant to speak. “What?”
“Do you need---help?” she motions to basically all of their flushed and rain-drench employer and Starscream is too drunk to stifle the sharp twist of a possessive knot that’s lived in her gut for a few months now. She keeps Megatron from sitting up by placing a knee on her sternum and prays the woman doesn’t get sick on her.
“It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.” She snaps without thinking and suffers Thundercracker’s quickly darkening face in response. “Just bring me some clothes, I’ll handle this.” Starscream waves her off knowing her sisters are going to want to discuss this further by morning. She was too drunk for this, but still managed to pull herself together after Thundercracker brought her spare clothes. Even some oversized clothes (that were of course still too small) for Megatron just in case. Starscream doubted she’d be able to undress AND dress the woman, but it was at least an option.
“For the love of--work with me here.” Tries not to yell hoping Skywarp manages to sleep through all of this. Tugging Megatron up by a shoulder and probably snaps a button fighting to get the damp shirt off her. She’s too big, Starscream thinks as she gets a thick arm free of a sleeve. (For the first time ever wishing the woman was slighter instead of a salt and pepper behemoth) Megatron just slouches forward and seems content resting her brow against her shoulder. No longer fighting her but grumbling something under her breath that is likely threats.
When Starscream goes to remove Megatron’s slacks the other makes a sloppy noise of disagreement. A short “not in the mood” before she manages to keep her eyes open long enough to seemingly realize what’s going on. Glassy focus darting between Starscream and the room, confused but not willing to admit it.
“Just lift your hips.” Starscream lets her wonder and she falls off the bed tugging the last articles of clothes and really prays Thundercracker has fallen back to sleep by now.
Starscream has never been a caretaker, never wanted to be. Threatening any who bullied her younger sister as children was one thing, but going out of her way to consider the comfort of another always seemed like too much work. She wasn’t interested and it made “tucking” Megatron, likely the most dangerous person Starscream has ever met, into bed all the more surreal. She didn’t know if she should have made her drink water first? Maybe stay awake until she was sure Megatron wasn’t going to be sick? Shit. Probably could have googled something.
She changes in the clothes offered and ponders sleeping on the couch instead. By morning her employer was likely not going to be so happy being reduced to a drunken mess in Starscream’s mind...even worse now Thundercracker was a witness! Two people seeing Megatron sloppy and weak, did she just sign their death warrant?!
“You’re giving me a headache thinking so hard.” Megatron’s voice sounds a touch more clear than before, heavy hand coming to rest on the small of Starscream’s back. It startles her, brings Starscream to whip around in the dark glaring at the lump of woman in the bed. This was Sarscream’s old room actually when her sister's and she moved to Iacon, now little more than storage and action figures Warp hoards. A bizarre contrast to Megatron, naked beneath a cheap comforter, staring up at her with glassy eyes. Arm extended and Starscream can see the glint of white scars across the exposed skin.
“Lay down, that’s an order.”
“Ordering me? In your condition?” She snarks and regrets it immediately. Maybe Megatron will forget this whole night and they can go back to just sleeping together when bored business trips take their toll?
“Starscream.” Firmer now, more like her terrible boss and Starscream surrenders. Moves to tug another blanket around herself and with Megatron’s arm stretched across the bed she has little choice but to nestle alongside the woman. Settling for a shoulder as her pillow while Megatron brings her arm down until fingers reach the edge of Starscream’s hairline.
“Don’t snore in my face.” Starscream warns just to argue so the moment doesn’t feel as sickly uncomfortable as it was. A strange tangled sensation across her belly, like anxiety but worse. Far too similar to joy. “And don’t try to kiss me in the morning, your breath is going to be terrible!”
Megatron just sighs and Starscream can feel a laugh rumble beneath her cheek.
“Of us, I’m not the one who snores.” Megatron almost smiles when Starscream kicks her in the leg.
She wakes with a start upon realizing Megatron was not in bed. Apparent when one was missing a great warm shape you’ve been tucked into all night. The pillows she used still remained, the blanket still wrinkled and smelling like traces of her cologne and sweat: but no Megatron. Starscream spills out of the bed, tripping down the hall towards any sign of life. Her sisters, fully dressed and un-surprised, going about their day as if the devil was not on the loose.
“Where is she?”
“Your girlfriend?” Skywarp’s smiling and it takes years of practice not to punch her. TC rests a hand over Warp’s mouth just in case.
“She left pretty early. Soundwave showed up at seven a.m., had clothes and everything. You slept through it.” she explains and Skywarp mutters about wishing she could have “slept through it” likely having been woken by their early morning visitor. Starscream had to move around the two, glancing at the clock in the kitchen to see it was well past one in the afternoon and couldn’t believe it.
“Your phone was dead, so she left a message.” Skywarp seemed to read the room and withdrew the worst of her smile. “Basically not to worry about your car, and she’d see you at the office tomorrow. Even gave us the day off so we could keep an eye on you.”
“So I guess I should be relieved that you didn’t drink and drive,” Thundercracker said with all the dad tone her voice could manage. All three of them knowing the statement meant much more as phantom pains swelled at the thought. “But whenever you feel like it, I think we need to have a little talk.”
“My favorite.” Starscream laments and proceeds to collapse hungover and dizzy in the nearest chair.
It took an embarrassingly long time to convince her sisters that she was not dating Megatron. Which seemed to upset them. Thundercracker especially who spent thirty minutes looking up sexual harassment claims and wouldn’t listen to Starscream’s reassurance that it was consensual. Skywarp had to remind TC that “if Starscream was being blackmailed don’t you think Screamer would be getting more out of it?” before she calmed down and it was Starscream’s turn to be upset.
They’d had a similar conversation before when a gala came around and she’d thrown a fit about Megatron’s date of choice...but it seemed neither sister had expected things to turn out as they had. Fine. She didn’t need their blessing or anything, it was actually just sex. So long as Megatron knew that: they were fine. Last night was a mishap. Nothing to remember except for the regret she hadn’t recorded anything to use as leverage against her employer later.
What a shame.
Then TC had to ask “Are you happy with just sex?” and Starscream was quick to head home not willing to travel down that emotional rabbit hole. Just because Thundercracker and Skywarp had been together since they met as children didn’t mean Starscream had to suffer those romantic ideals.
She had once, that was enough for a lifetime.
As promised her car had been returned to her apartment lot and the front desk had her keys. Glad to be home, she showered and sulked most of the day. Nursing the hangover and building sense of dread as the day went on. There was no telling how Megatron will react to the previous evening. Starscream didn’t like being embarrassed but it was going to be an experience seeing Megatron handle it.
She considers messaging her in the later evening, sprawled across her living room couch and watching the rain return outside. She instead tried to search the history of the bar, but found without a name she couldn’t do much more than guess wildly...and there were so many bars in Kaon her research ended before it really began. Perhaps forgetting it was really her only option? If her affair with Megatron was to end because of one night of drinking too much and not because of bad sex - or worse - Starscream should consider herself lucky.
Sober, Megatron claimed to have wanted Starscream there. Who knew how the morning might change that?
Soundwave is standing over Megatron’s shoulder when she’s summoned to the office. The “assistant from hell” scarcely acknowledges her, continues directing Megatron’s attention to something on the thick stack of paperwork laid out across her mammoth of a desk.
Starscream figured it wouldn’t take long for Megatron to summon her, but first thing in the morning? Her sisters were already blowing up her phone with interested messages, TC even offering an escape plan. Needless to say Starscream hadn’t slept much and was further annoyed that Megatron seemed entirely fine. Pressed suit and neatly combed hair. Brushed and polished as any day and so unlike the flushed and laughing woman who had taught Starscream to skip rocks off a rooftop parapet because Starscream didn’t believe you could.
“That will be all Soundwave, thank you.” She dismisses and Soundwave takes their leave, side-eyeing Starscream on their way out. Starscream just curls her lip in response before Megatron could catch her.
“You wanted to see me?” Somehow this was more awkward than coming to work after sleeping with Megatron the first time. How did that work?
“Yes,” Megatron doesn’t look up from the work Soundwave had left on her desk. She checks something on her computer and leaves Starscream waiting. “Will you be comfortable presenting your work on the null ray cannons in a weeks time? There’s been some hesitation on the contractor’s end and I don’t want to delay any progress.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll need to delegate office work down a rank.”
“Good. Soundwave has been assigned to grant support where needed,” For the first time Megatron looks her in the eyes and she’s reminded how dangerous she found the woman upon meeting her for the first time. How much of that first impression had encouraged Starscream to sign with Decepticon. “I hope you two can play nice.”
Starscream shakes off recalling Megatron tugging her into her lap on a wet rooftop, laughing and kissing her as if that were something they simply did.
“So long as they stay out of my way.” She agrees, tries for her usual dose of arrogant confidence, but whatever came out instead made Megatron click her tongue behind her teeth. “Is that...all?” Waiting for the other shoe to drop, or perhaps that would come later. Maybe Megatron would stop asking to get a drink with her - or Starscream would finally use that second hotel room.
“One more thing...one of the restaurants I partially own is hosting a performance troupe for a special evening. Some form of interpretive dance or,” Megatron waves her hand in dismissal. “Whatever street ballet is popular now. I’ll be inviting several of our project partners and will need a date.” Starscream has never heard that word come out of her mouth. Usually it’s “company” or “engagement”, never date. Too personal. For some reason her spine goes stiff but her stomach flips - and she can’t even blame a hangover. “If you’d be interested in a night of free food, pretentious entertainment and keeping me from stabbing a partner in the eye with a fork, I’d like for you to join me.”
Despite the way her chest is tightening, Starscream manages to scoff in her usual manner.
“This better be nicer than the bar.” She chances bringing up the night before, curious to Megatron’s reaction.
Megatron doesn’t flinch, if anything, her face softens and she looks human for once.
“Quite nicer. But it is vegan.”
“I’d rather go to the gross bar.” Groans and is pleased to note Megatron looks amused in response. Perhaps they're not ruined after all.
“But fine. I guess I can spare the time. Send me the details and I’ll send you the bill for the outrageously expensive dress I plan on buying.”
Megatron sits back at her desk, comfortable in the throne she’s built and looks Starscream over with open interest. Brow quirked, clearly trying to read something in her answer - left guessing and maybe a smile nudges against the corner of her mouth.
The sight of it is absolutely Starscream’s favorite thing in the entire world.
“Anything you want, Starscream.”