Bad Business 

Bitter Breaks

 

The far wall erupts in motion and noise as she hurls the nearest object into the unsuspecting surface. Metal groans, papers flash and scuttle away at the torrent of movement. Starscream lifts the second closest thing and the jet cog-now-paperweight joins its stapler brother in becoming no more than a cannonball in the fury of her latest tantrum. 

“Piece of shit!” she sneers, fists scrambling for anything else to throw and finding so few things of decent weight to make the violent impact she so desires. Schematics and notes, measuring tools and mugs  whose hollow bellies have been stained in coffee long forgotten, all go hurling towards the floor in a long sweep of Starscream’s arms. Unprotected, the protractor bites back and broken debris from the latest failure gives an unwelcome song of scorched steel and echoes of Megatron’s disappointment in the metal room. Once workshop, now prison of Starscream’s own frustrations. 

she's heaving for air by the time the spilled pencils and washer coins stop spinning across the floor. The silence taking hold like a great cold fist reaching past her reassembled ribs to squeeze her lungs, remind her of her spiraling failures. 

“Why can’t I make this work!?” her voice strains against a parched and tired throat, teeth tightly clenched and nails digging against the lip of the metal desk. The spill of nausea rising from somewhere, usually ignored, takes her out at the weakest link and sends Starscream forward. Brow pressing against wrinkled papers and fragments of broken steel like splinters snapping at her flesh. 

The test should have been the highlight of her year - the chance to shove all the unimpressed glances of Shockwave back into that bastard’s arrogant face! her chance to prove her purpose as more than a hopeless braggart, using words they think she doesn’t understand! 

her chance to stand amongst her peers and scream Look. Look what I’ve accomplished! Where they couldn’t twist and maim her creation, couldn’t take that victory from her like so many things which have been snatched and unravelled from her broken hands. Megatron was awaiting results most impatiently and Starscream would once again have to return to her grand tower - look her employer in the eye and explain her shortcomings. 

How many years has she been given to supply Megatron with a functioning prototype? An agreement struck, a contract signed, and Starscream selling her soul to a woman in a granite suit with a fist as dense and rough. she never forgot, was never able to forget the only reason Megatron agreed to hiring her - to take on the mess of her family’s drowning empire - was Starscream’s promise. 

Fragments of memories half formed in her younger mind. Lying through her teeth that she knew how her father’s most ambitious weapon was begun. Never finished, never safe enough after the incident and oh how quickly money filled hands were retracted after news of a pilot’s death spread through the many webs and open veins of their competitors. 

The beginning of the end for the Seeker legacy. A cursed venture.

Perhaps her futile attempts were equally cursed. A sickness in her blood which made such accomplishments sour and weep until attempts drew poisonous and acidic. Rotting her from the inside out just as her parents had endured in those final years. 

Starscream shakes her head, letting her body once more find the chair as she remained curled onto the desk’s surface. Clearing her thoughts away from smiles that turned cold or hands which once cradled, became boney and cruel. Slapping her away. Now was not the time to wallow. she was better than such pitiful action - just tired after days trying to solve this puzzle. Discover what went wrong so she didn’t have to beg before her employer once more.

Useless and wrong. 

Something not worth Megatron’s attention, or time, or affection...

The door opens behind her, the gentle sway of well-oiled hinges and a familiar chere of entry as a presence makes itself known. Soft shoes on the cold floor, the following closing of the door until it clicks with almost unfamiliar patience. 

That’s enough reason for Starscream to stand quickly upright, head spinning as her stomach clenches on nothing, throat stung with static and sand as she grimaces to greet the unexpected visitor.

“I’m worki--” she begins the venomous scowl, ready to eviscerate the daring fool who thought to cross into her territory, a sacred and untouchable place by even Starscream’s brothers. 

A kind face greets her, swatting away her curling lash with only the softness of cheeks and eyes that disappear in a smile. A most familiar face of warm, tawny skin and obsessively blonde hair which peeks black at the crown. Impressive shoulders in a perpetual hunch to seem less grand than she is, standing tall that her shadow spills across the floor and stops just short of Starscream’s own. 

“You.” It’s hardly accusatory, just swollen like Starscream’s tongue in her mouth, looking up at her guest who only smiles the warmth of the sun down at her. “What are you doing here?” 

“I can’t check up on you?” Skyfire answers, voice peaceful but as ever edged in a ribbon of amusement. 

Starscream bares teeth as her response.

“You know you can’t.” she looks past Skyfire at the exit, heart threatening to rattle out of her chest. Soundproof or not she couldn’t have this conversation here - if anyone walked in! “How did…no. Doesn’t matter. Get out.” 

Skyfire doesn’t move, doesn’t rush from the door like some intern shattered and weeping at Starscream’s tone. Instead she does the impossible and takes a few steps forward, confident in her gentle way. Moving soft as she observes the intense machinations of Starscream’s workshop. From the walls heavy with the connective tissue of design to the half dissected fifth of a jet engine crammed best it can to one side. The room, impressive size as it was for thinking and contained experiments, was overwhelmed with Starscream’s ever-frantic ideas. Forever designing, creating, failing. 

“You’re doing it again.” Skyfire’s sigh reads both tender and disappointed, something Starscream doesn’t need right now with her nerves shot and the mere sight of the woman sending her head spinning through a thousand reasons why she can’t be here. 

“And you promised you’d stop showing up like this.” she snarls in response, quick to pull papers from a hand, large and curious and once so warm against Starscream’s skin. 

her face is just the same, cheekbones soft and smiling with lips pressed together when they stare one another down. Skyfire wears a turtleneck that Starscream has stolen more than once - liked stretching it out stuffing her legs and arms inside and cocooning herself in the woman’s smell. It was a safe place, her clothes. Oversized even for Skyfire - never interested in having things tailored for her impressive height. When they first met Skyfire was almost reedy, too tall and comical to look at when the sleeves of her shirt would stop mid wrist and the rest of her would just carry on forever. Like she could reach across the world with little effort.

They both changed soon after, living off boxed meals and sodium heavy snacks until Starscream would whine for a vegetable, laying on the floor of their apartment at midnight. And Skyfire wouldn’t hesitate to jog out into the night - find the only grocery store open for miles and awkwardly present her steamable bag vegetables when they didn’t even have a microwave to heat them in.

Starscream had a microwave of course, on campus, in her dorm. The one her parents paid the University to supply her with, one meant for professors with luxuries no student should have access too. Wasn’t higher learning about suffering? It had a stovetop too, but Starscream didn’t like going there. Didn’t like the fact that her parents had the key and they could just barge in any time they wanted. 

Skyfire’s apartment was more her home than anywhere at that time. The mess was theirs, the kitchen table groaning under the weight of their books, their projects, their scavenged debris from the lab’s refuse pile. Starscream’s family owns more than seven houses, not one worth under 15 million - but this shoebox was where she learned what home was supposed to be. 

She missed it.

Once Starscream would trade all the silver and gold of her current life just to return to that space. Where her cheek always found Skyfire’s heartbeat when they shared the cramped bed. Safe. Unreachable by all the horrible things waiting for her.

Not anymore.

“When was the last time you ate?” 

“God why do you care?! ”  Starscream erupts, no longer able to face that gentle expression, that sickening concern. she doesn’t have a place for it anymore, doesn’t know what to do with it. 

“Star light ,” 

“No.” If Starscream could bring herself to ever hurt Skyfire more than she already has - she might strike her. It would be difficult, she's tall, but she could probably leave a mark slapping her across the face. Breaking that pet-name across the woman’s teeth. “Don’t you ever, ever call me that again.” 

Dark brows turn, eyes fall low and she knows she's too harsh. Always so harsh with Skyfire, always ready to fight and claw back that piece of herself from the woman’s grasp. 

But Skyfire could be stabbed through the heart and she would still ask her attacker if they hurt their hand plunging the knife in.

“You get nosebleeds when you do things like this.” she warns, settling on a desk’s edge not so far from Starscream. she almost fears Skyfire is going to reach out and try to touch her but thankfully those big goofy hands stay piled in Skyfire’s own lap. Mannered and still. “Then you get sick and can’t work for days - only get angry about that. Have you had water at all? What about rest - no don’t answer that.” she dares to laugh, to fucking chuckle at her like her self destruction is endearing. “I know you, I know you’re about to fall apart.” 

She is. she has been for awhile.

Living distraction to distraction. Snatching up what greedy little pieces of the world she can. Hoarding her accomplishments like a scrawny dragon, half dead in their mountain dwelling. 

Starscream has lived this way for years. she learned after her parent’s death that it truly wasn’t enough to just survive them. To outlast their disgust of her. No. she was still alive and pointless. Useless. Worthless. Every moment alive she could feel her bones like steel rods dragging her down. Making it more difficult each day to get out of bed, to move, to exist in this world that looked at her and laughed at all the places she wore gaping holes. Parts of her torn out and left bleeding, only spite and desperation to staunch the wounds. 

“You don’t visit me anymore.” Skyfire’s voice causes her to realize she's closed her eyes to the world. Opening them is agonizing because Skyfire is still there. Still watching her with a face between adoration and worry and all Starscream wants to do is step into the space made by her legs. Crawl into her, maybe ever hide inside her forever.

But she can’t.

“I said goodbye. You’re the one who won’t stop showing up like this.” 

Skyfire nods, slow and sad, with that same brittle smile she wore the second to last time Starscream tried to say goodbye. Tell her they couldn’t keep doing this, that her life would be ruined if she tried to follow Skyfire. The woman stood in their shoebox apartment smiling, walls crowding her in, as Starscream told her she would lose everything if she stayed with Skyfire - and that she wasn’t enough. That her smile wasn’t worth giving up the luxuries of her family name. And if she loved her, if Skyfire truly loved Starscream, she would understand. she would stop chasing her.

Skyfire’s only answer was: “Never.”

 

“I worry about you.” Skyfire spoke up. “I wonder - are you ok? Are you safe? Is someone looking after you? Since I...can’t.” 

“I’m fine.” Starscream answers too quickly, not even thinking am I fine? she knows the truth, but Skyfire has no right asking, because she couldn’t do anything about it if she said no so come back to me . That was impossible. “I have everything I need.” 

“Right.” Skyfire was always so animated a person, throwing her size around as though she weren’t practically a titan amongst mortals.But now she is still, so still. It makes Starscream think of a body - frozen and stiff - unmoving and heavy in a blanket of snow. 

Starscream’s stomach turns at the memory.

“Is she treating you well?” 

That causes her gaze to snap upwards, horrified at the question and greeted with those eyes of humble warmth. The ones she thought were blue when they first met, the spark of distant tools igniting the scene as Starscream was small and over-eager. Introduced to this giant noodle of a woman who turned to look at her and smiled.

“Megatron.” Skyfire clarifies, thumbs twisting in her lap, an anxious motion. she was always so bad at poker, couldn’t lie to save her own life. “Did you forget?” 

“No.” 

God.

She had.

she'd looked into Skyfire’s eyes and forgotten about Megatron. Forgotten about her steel and scarred hands. Forgotten about the brush of a coarse jawline against her cheek. The sound of her voice, the way eyes watch Starscream with something more than interest. Like she could see beyond a shriveled prince clinging to the edges of her shadow to survive. 

she'd forgotten the times Megatron stood before her, spoke words which flooded Starscream’s ego. Made her heart race, her body tremble with a renewed energy. The way that woman could hold her gaze, feed her purpose by the sound of her voice or the vibration of her heart under Starscream’s hand when they lay together. Their own haven of silver and gold, of glass and steel. Of 9 digit bank accounts, triple bolt security locks, and silk sheets that now only smell of Megatron’s cologne no matter how many washes they go through.

A place that was just theirs. A home at Megatron’s side.

It makes her want to scream more than the work she can’t complete, more than this woman who won’t stop finding her. Starscream just wants to feel something break in her hands - and her first thought is wouldn’t it be nice if she could reach into her chest and shatter her own heart. Make it stop feeling this way.

But she knows there’s nothing there. Only hollow pieces and unswept fragments remain and she would give anything to finally be rid of the debris that still clings to this sickly little hope that it’s going to be ok. 

Skyfire said Megatron’s name. Starscream wants to retch but there’s nothing in her stomach. Only acid and hatred for the sound of it. Those two things should never meet and her hands shake in panic.

“You can love her.” Skyfire presses on and forces Starscream to take a step back. “It’s alright, I want you to be happy - that’s all I ever…” 

“Please shut up.” her voice breaks, hands flying to her face to dig nails into her hairline. The pain will stop her from crying, she wont can’t . Refuses to. 

her mother would say Don’t cry darling. Don’t let anyone ever make you cry, noone is worth your tears all while cooing and stroking her hair. Calling her so many wonderful doting things. Making her feel like she would do anything to let her be happy.

Anything but one. 

 

When she looks up, Skyfire is standing before her. she's just as tall but the world feels so massive around them both. Distorted and empty, a wasteland where only they exist - the way things used to be. Just them. Nothing else. No one could touch them until everyone did. Digging hands and nails into what they had and pulling it apart. 

Tires spinning in the snow. Glass shatters and so do Starscream’s bones.

“I love you.” Skyfire bows, the shape of these words are so familiar. Starscream once heard them everyday, multiple times. Even apart she would hear those words, their promise to each other. They would always say it, always mean it, and never stop being in love with one another. That was their promise.. 

No. That was their vow. 

“Skyfire-” 

“Shh.” Starscream is hushed and sees red for the insult. Can’t stand being interrupted but can’t make herself say so, too busy trying to keep her lungs from closing up as Skyfire smiles, did she ever stop? No. she keeps smiling and Starscream would do anything to make it end - or have it continue on forever. “I’m giving you my permission to be happy. You love her, don’t you?” 

“You’re right. I do.” Starscream bites her cheek and there’s no pain - but when she tries to hold Skyfire’s face that pain suddenly comes flooding in as she feels nothing where a soft jaw should be. “But if you were really here, you wouldn’t be saying this..” 

.

The noise Starscream makes upon waking startles even herself. It’s rabid and afraid, tearing out of her with ribs aching against the strength of it. Something catches her in the dark - the world is made of smeared shapes and dim lights - and nothing looks real. 

she's afraid until a voice knocks into her brow. Something familiar and harsh, but not cruel. Something she's spent nights falling asleep to like an obsessive song played just for her.

“Starscream.” Megatron speaks like an order, hands massive where they hold her wrists from flailing too much. she blinks, trying to clear her eyes of the static which she'd like to pretend weren’t tears. Something more is streaking down her face and she feels Megatron curse before cloth is pressed to her mouth and nose, a handkerchief. One she knows is comically purple with silver trim and one of the few posh things Megatron enjoys. 

“F uck .” she calls out, finally able to see the woman, a face of hard lines and heavy brow turned in concern. (Concern or annoyance, they both looked the same on this stupid mug.) Handkerchief pressed close, the blood looking black on the already dark color.

“Sit still.” Megatron warns, even though she wasn’t trying to move. her legs don’t feel real, her hands like limp fishing wire at the ends of her wrists. Primus why does her body hurt so much? “How long have you been down here?” 

“Hn.” she whines. she hates to whine but speaking is painful and forming words takes some time. Behind Megatron is her workstation, it’s a mess of papers and broken scrap. Incomplete project mocking her over the shoulder of this woman who demands so much of her. Who Starscream fears she cannot satisfy. “Shut up. It’s only Wednesday.” she tries to pull her teeth back but her mouth feels tacky either in blood or tears she can’t tell. 

Starscream can only fear what it will be like, once her thoughts get in order, and she realizes she's been found in such a state by Megatron of all people. Why did it have to be her? Why does it always have to be her to see these things?!

She must have said something wrong because Megatron is cradling her skull, manipulating her exhausted body until she's cursing wild in irritation but unable to fight back.

“Starscream it’s Sunday.” 

“Fuck off.” she swats at her chest but it’s like a fly hitting a window. Weak and futile against this strength.

“I’m calling Hook.” 

The moment Megatron begins to stand Starscream feels a scream coming on. It wells up in her chest, tears through her throat and only her teeth and tongue can stop it. Muffles it into something pathetic and loud and disgusting as her useless hands scramble to claw at what fabric she can find. Twisting it under numb fingers, on the verge of panic as Megatron’s shape tries to leave her.

Starscream doesn’t remember saying anything, but Megatron is agreeing to something, promising she won’t do something - lifting her up from the floor of her workshop and Starscream buries herself into the dark red collar of her shirt. Digging hands into the wool lapel, half considering digging harder and seeing if she can hollow out a space to hide in forever. 

She catches herself begging Megatron for something but the words don’t make sense, but Megatron agrees anyways. Voice a firm rumble against where their bodies meet. Where Starscream has curled into the other’s lap and made herself small.

Megatron tells her not to “say things like that” but Starscream can’t hear her own words, just feels her mouth moving and feels Megatron’s hands chasing sobs and trembling muscles from her back, urging her to calm down.

 

To her shame, she doesn’t calm down.

She just makes herself seem like she has after she tries to kiss Megatron and the woman very firmly says “No.”.

Fine. 

She needs to sleep.

Megatron agrees.

Take her home?

Megatron will get her coat.

Megatron does more than get her coat. Starscream can hear the PA system ordering all employees to clear the pathway to the garage - makes her smile and roll eyes that feel made of cotton and needles at the courtesy for her. Primus she hates that woman.

No she doesn’t.

Fuck.

Scrubs eyes with hands and wants to fall over and sleep - but if Skyfire is there waiting for her…

She wants to cry, so she doesn’t. Instead she's using an alcohol pad meant for cleaning to wipe the nose bleed from her face and probably looks horrifying when Megatron returns. Starscream doesn’t want to know what her hair looks like, or her face with dried blood. And who knows how her makeup smeared from Wednesday , wow.

But Megatron doesn’t look angry, or upset or even distraught when she returns. Coat like a gray cape in hand then suddenly it’s a blanket falling over Starscream’s body.

“Can you walk?” 

“Yes.” 

Megatron carries her anyways, at least to the elevator to escape the sublevel labs. Lets her try to walk once they’re in the building proper and someone brings Megatron’s vehicle around - but it’s not Megatron’s it’s Shockwave’s. Evident by the high school hockey bag Megatron throws into the back seat and the beaded charm dangling from the rearview mirror. Made when the twins were in summer camp for a month and their parents were inconsolable with missing them.

It’s so insanely funny to her for no reason Starscream doesn’t know she's laughing until Megatron’s free hand is large and heavy at the back of her neck. Trying to get her to step into the elevator of her apartment building and - wow they got there fast. 

she's having that realization at the same time they’ve already entered the home. her clothes are undone and she's furious because she doesn’t want to sleep bare but her bed is soft and she forgives Megatron when she presses her big stupid weight behind her. Arm heavy and securing Starscream to this world and not the one she's fighting to not remember.

Tries to kiss Megatron again, but yet again there is an unmoving “No.” so she buries into her throat instead and tries to find the woman’s pulse with her fingertips but fails. Whines over it until Megatron does it for her and doesn’t let go of her hand.

“Don’t be here when I wake up.” Starscream requests, voice raw and it’s physically painful to try and sleep. she's scared and mad about it.  “I know you’ll call Hook or Knockout, that’s fine. Just you don’t be here.” 

Megatron makes a noise, or maybe answers she can’t tell the difference right now.

“I’m not ready for you to see me like this.” 

“Does that matter right now?” A thumb strokes up her cheek, almost to her hairline where a scar is well hidden beneath the thick hair.

“To me.” Alot. So much. “You can come back, after, just not…” 

Megatron calls her a brat to shut her up and it makes Starscream smile.

“Go to sleep.” she orders and it’s an order Starscream can follow.

---

 

The phone rings three times before someone answers. Their voice is aged and accented, a little goofy if you’ve never heard it before but Starscream has the shape of it committed to memory. Just as much as her parent’s, as her brothers and as Megatron’s.

“Hello?” 

“Jetfire?” 

Starscream prepares for the worst, for the old woman to start yelling or cursing her out. To threaten to hobble out of her chair and find her, give her a beating for daring to call. It makes her smile, how stupid. she missed this cantankerous old voice. Missed the echo of its exaggerated tales of the war. The way this old pilot would drag on and on to her delight (and her mother’s dismay) of rattling planes and quick thinking soldiers. How in my day these confangled contraptions wouldn't last fifteen minutes in a real dogfight while Starscream’s father would fake insult and a battle of engineer vs pilot would fill the air.

She expects Jetfire to hang up at least - but Starscream was already on her second day of bed rest via Knockout. IV freshly removed from her arm, phone to hand, and nothing to do until Megatron returns. If she was going to be screamed at, she might as well be comfortable doing it.

“Didn’t think you still had my number lad.” (she'd memorized it long ago.) Jetfire’s quiet. It’s been years hasn’t it? she sounds so much older. Tired. Starscream wonders if she sounds the same way. “Why are you calling? You in trouble?” 

“No.” Yes. Always. Hands shake around the phone. “I wanted to ask you something.” 

“Hn.” she can imagine the old pilot nodding. Hair stark white and face heavy with wrinkles and old scars from sunburn. Something Starscream would point out when the old woman would call her too skinny and Jetfire would scrunch up her face and say at least I still have my charm.

“I wondered if-” 

“she'd be happy to see you.” Jetfire cuts her off and Starscream feels her body go limp with the breath she didn’t know she was clutching. “But come see me first, her nurses don’t like strangers and I have to bring her some things anyhow, if you don’t mind an old hack like me joining you.” 

“That’d be-” 

She hears her front door open. The weight of Megatron’s steps shifting, like she's trying to be quiet, but a woman who was a mountain can hardly sneak . Starscream would find it endearing if it doesn’t shoot her heart into her throat and she panics.

“I’ll call you this upcoming weekend to arrange it. I’m sorry I have to go.” 

“Starscream?” Jetfire speaks up, confused by the abrupt end. Starscream needs to hang up, Megatron is coming. she can feel the steps drawing closer. “She misses you. I can tell.” 

 

her phone screen shows only emails missed and angry messages from Scrapper when Megatron enters the room. Heavy gaze sweeping the scene and looking at Starscream with a touch of annoyance.

“You should be resting.” 

“Boring.” she waves her off and Megatron chooses not to engage in the battle, muttering something about Soundwave sending soup (yikes??) and Starscream lying, saying that would actually be amazing .

She watches her turn to leave, feeling a sense of terror at the retreating form, and she speaks up. A noise pathetic and small that it was impossible for Megatron not to hear it.

“I’m sorry.” 

she's said the words before, but not so easily and not without a fight - so it’s almost insulting the way Megatron’s brows shot up in surprise.

“What?” 

“About the cannon.” she admits, failure churning in her bruised belly. “I still can’t get it to work in combination with the jet and you’ve been waiting--” 

“You almost killed yourself over that?” Megatron’s voice is dark, edged with fury and the swell of it sends Starscream on edge. 

“I hardly say I was killing myself.” she snipes back, now very sensitive and trying not to scramble into defense mode.

The sound of Skyfire’s voice shaping Megatron’s name feels like a needle pushing under her ribcage.

“Starscream.” Megatron doesn’t approach, doesn’t move from her tense stance in the doorway. her eyes are heated, so angry so quickly and that temper is something Starscream could usually match with her own. But she's so tired, she so tired of yelling. “If you ever treat yourself so carelessly over something so petty I will personally remove you from each and every project and have you sitting in a bare office to wallow in your reckless actions.” 

“Petty?!” she jerks forward, anger suddenly not so difficult to summon. she almost drops her phone and swallows a wince at the ache in her skull. “You call this petty?! this is the only reason you keep me around and I failed! I fucking failed and if I don’t get this right you’ll---” 

They both realize what she thinks will happen if she doesn’t get this right. It’s something she never put to words, just a terrified emotion. Something lurking in corners, peeking out from under the bed they share, taunting her. 

Starscream tries to retreat, pull herself together, but the obvious is in the air. A shameful curtain drawn back and Megatron can see too much.

“You stupid boy.” Megatron’s sigh is deafening because it is not angry. Not irate or annoyed or even cruel. It’s sad, primus she didn’t know Megatron could sound forlorn . 

“Don’t.” 

“If you think for a moment this ,” she doesn’t have to explain what this is. this is Megatron’s clothes in Starscream’s closet. this is dinners shared and knuckles brushing against cheeks. this is waking up next to Megatron and pretending to be asleep after she's curled in closer under the morning light. “Is all dependant on your success in recreating something your father failed to do, then I have not made myself clear.” 

Starscream wishes she'd come closer - but also the thought of Megatron touching her right now scared her more than anything. she might actually break - shatter into a thousand pieces never to be recovered. she wonders if Megatron knows this, or can sympathize because she doesn’t move.

“Quit tomorrow.”  she says abruptly and Starscream winced. “Choose to never go into that building again - never lift a finger for the rest of your life and I will still have a place for you.” 

“On your arm? Something pretty to show off?” she says, sour and reaching for a way to make this less earth shattering. The idea of giving nothing to Megatron and that be enough? Impossible. 

“At my side.” Megatron corrects, pauses. “But what you choose to do there is something you have to decide for yourself.” 

Starscream buries her face into the palm of her hand. It might look like she's trying to hide a smile, but it’s a grimace. Something painful and rough against recent wounds. There wasn’t enough spite or desperation to shield her from Megatron’s earnesty.

“I want to complete her work.” she says instead of being flustered and stupid. No. Not now. Not with Skyfire’s face echoing across her mind. “I will accomplish what she failed to do.” Let her father twist and curse in her grave - let her suffer the feeling of having what she cared for most taken away from her. her pride.

“I believe you.” Megatron agrees with such certainty, what a bastard. Primus help her, Starscream loves this woman. “And that’s why I let you keep trying.” 

They get awkward fast and it’s funny that it doesn’t disappoint her. It feels, right. To watch Megatron’s mouth flatten, look away like she said too much or not enough. So rare to see such a powerful and pointed woman struggle with indecision, feels so good to be the one capable of smoothing those ruffled edges with a sigh and a smile.

“Do you know how to reheat soup?” she asks and finds such delight in the scowl across her lover’s face.

“Stay in bed.” That Starscream will obey. Watching Megatron leave and finding it doesn’t scare her as much, her words repeating in the space left behind. Starscream taking the chance to quickly delete her call hertory and sends a message to Skywarp - asking her to find something to demand a trip back to Vos. Soon. Something that won’t involve Megatron’s interest.

She deletes the responding messages too and falls back to the pillows, hearing Megatron clunk around in the kitchen. A hilarious image that shouldn’t leave her so flustered and possessive over what happens next.

Megatron is holding a place for her by her side…

 

It reminds Starscream of a marriage proposal she'd gotten once.

One, that she had said yes to.

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