Bad Business 

As Sure As Snow Falls
 

Megatron catches Starscream just as she's cleaning up the edges of her lip tint. A subtle color meant to enhance the shape of a curveless mouth, paired well with the softest brush of red beneath ink dipped lashes. The younger woman doesn’t notice her at first, far too obsessed with the reflection in hand. Ensuring all drawn lines are straight, that delicate chains of gold rest evenly and picturesque down the powdered throat.
 

Fussy, elegant thing that Starscream is.
 

“And where do you think you’re going?” Megatron asks, and that startles the seeker. Earning her a thin lipped snarl and look of apprehension masked behind irritation. The compact clicks shut as violent as any curse leaving Starscream to stand before her unprotected in all her tweaked glory.
 

“That’s really none of your business.” Defensive already, Megatron is intrigued. Crossing the threshold of Starscream’s office which in itself is a wonderful stage that tells nothing of the woman more than what she wishes to put on display. Velvet couch and glass tables. Gold trim frames of cityscape prints. The odd silver welding of an abstract plane to match the endless volumes of untouched books: leather bound and dusted frequently by hired staff.

Starscream’s corporate office was a perfect setting of glossy black and harsh red highlights to contrast the unorganized hell of the woman’s sub-basement workshop. The true Starscream spilled over workbenches and scorched metal parts. Schematics crumpled and coffee stained, missing documents stuffed under table legs and stacked coats where the woman would sleep on occasion.

 

Starscream, prim and pretty framed by the illusion of the office, told anyone all they ever really needed to know of her.
 

“Shockwave still has need of you in the labs. Your shift is until eight tonight.”
 

“Well it’s good to know no one can read a schedule in this place.” Starscream puffs her chest with a childish indignation, returning to the mild mess of makeup products and metal comb laid neatly across the polished desk. Earlier today she was wearing her expensive suit, wrinkled beneath the lab coat as Megatron had to once again mediate a disagreement between engineers and Starscream’s demands.
 

Now she wore black silk and heinously thin jeans that perfectly traced the length of long legs. Hair shiny black and perfectly styled where no disturbance could unfurl a single straightened curl. Heeled boots the same garish red as the leather jacket. Clearly meant only for fashion and not a thought for warmth as it hangs open and free with silver teeth and buckles down the compact torso. The dead of winter and Starscream looked ready for a spring concert.
 

“I took the time off weeks ago, even had Soundwave approve it.” Starscream continues, offering no proof past dropping Soundwave’s name. “You can chase them down to verify, I don’t have the time.”
 

“You? Took off time?” Megatron almost laughs. Not that Starscream leaving was absurd, merely the idea the woman bothered going through the proper channels to do so. She’d grown used to Starscream simply walking out without excuse and having to track her down, wasting everyone’s time.

“Miracles do happen.”

 

“Ha.” Flat response and with vigor does Starscream spray herself with a sweetly scented cologne - being sure to cloud the space around Megatron’s lingering form as if an attack on her person. Looking quite pleased with herself as Megatron clears her throat and tries not to choke. “Besides, aren’t you scheduled for a meeting for another two hours?” At this she frowns to Starscream’s smug grin, watching tanned, elegant hands shuffle through a bag to put away the products - a gold bracelet chiming on her wrist which Megatron recognizes rather well.
 

Considering she purchased it for Starscream last Winter: layered gold with a faceted diamond glittering at the woman’s pulse. Last seeing the bracelet few months back at a summer fundraising event where they put on their best smiles and veils of altruistic intent. An evening playing nice with the local government Megatron kept on her payroll before Starscream hiked her Versace skirt up and came around her fingers in the elevator. It had been an eventful night and the sight of the bangle only reminded Megatron of the way it caught the hallway light as Starscream fought not to laugh - completely unhelpful as Megatron handed a wad of cash to a traumatized bellboy that had been on the other side of those elevator doors.
 

She’s caught staring, Starscream’s pale stare just as fake as the office’s decor. Purchased contacts to make her look the way she thinks she should look. To stand out from her dark skin and glossy hair, as if her red-brown eyes weren’t stunning enough.
 

“You have a date?” Megatron guesses and watches the uneasy swallow work it’s way down the long throat. Left to wonder if she should find this amusing or have any thought at all? “It’s rather early for you, don’t you think?” Checks her watch, scarcely past five where she's known Starscream to run about with her fascination of the week well after midnight. (Only because she at times gets the bills when Starscream tries to use her company card to pay for the suite and room service).
 

“You make it sound like I’m off to prom.” Starscream doesn’t relax but it’s understood in a moment that neither will be addressing the elephant in the room. “I don’t expect it to go for long. It’s more a pity date than anything. Sap kept asking - I had a free night. So why not?”
 

They are nothing more than a HR nightmare waiting to happen. They are not an item nor share any idealistic beliefs they are beholden to one another. They are free to do what, and who, they so please and Megatron cannot justify the tension in her jaw.
 

“I suppose it’s a good thing really, we do have a six am conference call scheduled.”
 

“Oh, I will absolutely be late for that.”
 

Megatron frowns and Starscream flutters black lashes innocently, openly challenging Megatron’s patience as if this were a simple conversation. As if Megatron hadn’t steered herself across the corporate campus the second she heard Starscream was trying to leave early - and wondered if the seeker would like company.
 

“She’s not someone we’re involved with, is it?” Megatron has flashbacks of the trouble Starscream has caused her. Her behavior with clients and partners, the flirtatious smiles across business dinners and eventual tantrums of CEOs when Starscream was bored of them. Hounding calls of heartbroken engineers and designers who only kept Starscream’s attention until she secured the copyrights to their work.
 

It wasn’t that Starscream slept with business associates to get what she wanted - she just had a terrible habit of getting what she wanted AND sleeping with them. Megatron wondered where that put her in the mix?

“You worry too much.” Starscream shifts back to her careless self, perfectly structured to seem that way at least. Hips sharp and limbs loose - red mouth damp with product and the glint of teeth when she speaks.

“Besides, the last one dropped the lawsuit.”

 

“She dropped the lawsuit because we paid her to drop the lawsuit.”
 

“See? Worked out.”
 

“Starscream…” A warning was cut short by the quiet hum of a sleek phone which doesn’t fit in the pocket of the jeans. Quickly ignored as Starscream answers the call, lowered gaze trailing along Megatron’s now awkward posture. Standing there like some fool as her subordinate’s voice changed into someone almost pleasant sounding.
 

“You’re here? I’ll be right down.” She laughs gentle and light without actually smiling. It’s unnerving to say the least how charming she can sound while looking so bored. “Just tell them you’re picking up, it won’t be more than a minute.” Taps the screen to end the call, no terms of endearment for her date or plastic attempts to woo her further thank god. Megatron doubts she could stomach it. She was spared that treatment when Starscream and she began...their absolutely terrible decision to sleep with one another. Sparse as it may be it felt more honest to just drink too much and fall into the same car home rather than play doting and affectionate when they did not feel that way for one another.
 

Starscream is looking at her again, perhaps for permission to leave though Megatron doubts it. Starscream has never asked for permission before, why start now?
 

“It’s cold out.” Megatron nods to the fashionable jacket because she isn’t sure what else to say. Taking in the open length of Starscream’s shirt like the woman was inviting the frigid air in. Catching sight of the scar just beneath the left side collarbone that turned pale and gray in the cold. “That will hardly be enough.”

“We aren’t going hiking.” Starscream laughs. “But thanks, mom.” She mocks, and if her skin weren’t so painted and powdered to make her appear carved and smooth - Megatron might imagine the flush beneath peeking through. “Is that all? Not that I care about keeping her waiting but---”
 

“Conference call. Six am.” Reminds, stern as she only need shift a shoulder to give Starscream the room to leave. Heels clicking until they reach the carpeted corridors and she doesn’t hesitate to leave Megatron’s sight - not even a polite glance back or a goodbye.
 

Megatron is hardly surprised.

 

---


 

An hour later Megatron has her right wrist gripped behind her back, staring out the tinted windows of the “observation” room. A meeting hall on the corner of the building where windows stretched the length of the walls giving a spectacular view of the city. Iacon pale and salted for winter, thick clouds above suffocating the evening sunset and allowing the dark to settle quick and daunting over the cityscape.
 

Behind her Soundwave continues to work without her assistance, really their standard method. The rhythmic typing and sweeping chimes of files shifted and sent to various outreaches of their organization, both above as below the view of the rest of the world. Multiple screens and tablets intertwined with Soundwave’s vast knowledge of technology where Megatron can only stare and trust that what she commands is done at the ring of a digital bell.
 

They have work to do. They always have work to do but her thoughts are elsewhere, scattered yet finely tuned to a singular subject. Fractured across a bothered mind that can’t seem to ground itself while so busy. It’s obvious in her posture, her flickering attention from Soundwave’s commentary to the muddled world outside where clouds seem to swell ready to burst in a storm.
 

“Soundwave.” There’s an immediate pause in the typing behind her. She imagines Soundwave looking up from their work, a glazed look over focused eyes. “Are we expecting bad weather tonight?”
 

Three clicks and the wall display screen comes to life, muted local and regional news stations making their appearance. Each presenting the sudden percentage of snow and freezing rain overnight rising by the second. Banners warning of dangerous roads by early morning and caution against temperatures dropping with startling severity. Soundlessly the reporters make jokes, smile with casual gestures while repeating their warnings. Shaking fingers as if in lecture to the viewers to take their information seriously.
 

“That idiot.” Megatron sighs, shuffling through her pocket and bringing her personal phone out. The screen is empty of new notifications. No calls, no texts. Just the apps waiting use and the unchanged background from when the phone was first activated.
 

What was she expecting? Starscream was on a date, forcing herself to cozy up with some poor soul who didn’t know the devil when she saw her. There was no reason to think for a second that Starscream would have reason to contact her, already taken care of for the night by whatever idiot she snared today. Worst comes to worst Starscream’s sisters knew of her issues. They would come get her if she called. They would complain and bitch and yell...but would always come get her.
 

There was no reason to expect a call as if she were needed by the spoiled woman.
 

Megatron turns the volume up on the ringer and watches as the first trailing freckles of snow begin to drift from the sky.

 

---


 

Two hours later Megatron keeps turning on her phone to see if she's somehow missed a call. Perhaps the ringer died and didn’t play, or the reception was poor despite amplifiers put around the building (even though Soundwave looks offended by the thought). She sends Reflector to check and see if Starscream’s phone was accidentally left on the office desk - despite Megatron watching the seeker struggle to put it back in her jeans pocket before leaving. No chance it was forgotten.
 

Pride stops her from calling personally, but Soundwave places a short call - an automated reminder of their morning meeting and it goes through. No one answers but the line is clear. There would be no problem receiving a call from her...should Starscream think to call.
 

“Distracted.” Soundwave comments as casually as stating that water is wet or that the city is now an ugly speckled wonderland of falling snow. Not too thick so early, but it will get worse. Only now has it begun to take shape across the distant city streets below. Building tops white with collection as the sun is gone and the dark makes the spilling storm look all the more monstrous.

Megatron does not mind snow. Where she's from snow and ash melded together above churning factories. Smoke and ice were commonplace and nothing to fear if you knew what you were doing. It never was a weather pattern she thought to care about - simply a season to tolerate the bitter cold - until she met Starscream.

“No.” Megatron lies, and Soundwave lets her. Only shifting their long braid over one shoulder and typing slower - still waiting on Megatron’s approval over the table covered with documents and digital signatures requiring attention.

 

“Cabs still run in bad weather.” Soundwave reminds and if only it were that simple.
 

Their first night together was because it had begun to snow. Because she caught Starscream staring out from the lobby windows like a child waiting a monster to emerge from the closet doors. Because Starscream lied about losing her car keys and that the replacement wouldn’t be around until morning - so Megatron offered to drive her home. She could have called a cab then, or ordered a company car but she didn’t. Megatron very much believes Starscream would have slept in her office rather than venturing out on the winter streets.

Starscream has her date to drive her home. Megatron should stop worrying.
 

“Where’s the report on Caminus?” She asks and Soundwave points to the folder beneath her hand, watching her with a lackluster stare. “We have work to do.” She tells Soundwave, and wonders if she herself will listen.

 

---


 

Twenty minutes later the snow has not stopped and Megatron’s phone rings.
 

She almost knocks it off the table answering it as Starscream’s number flares across the screen. No photo id, no contact name despite Starscream’s countless attempts to enter one. ”How will you know who’s calling you?”  She argued to Megatron’s assurance that unlike young fools, she can memorize numbers just fine.
 

“I told you that coat wasn’t enough.” Megatron boasts, because it’s the only way to withhold the tension in her voice as outside the snow continues to fall.
 

“Excuse me?” A foreign voice answers and Megatron’s gut goes tight.
 

“Who am I speaking to?” Megatron asks to which Soundwave’s interest is abruptly peaked, watching her from over a laptop screen.
 

“Hi, sorry, my name is Wheeljack. I uh -- I was instructed to call this number.” A pause from the other end, someone speaking muffled by movement. “I’m trying to get ahold of someone for Starscream.”
 

“And where is Starscream?” Megatron does not offer her name or any further information. Only snaps at Soundwave to track the call to its location - a standard feature on all her employees devices whether they knew it or not.
 

“She got sick.” Wheeljack’s voice holds genuine concern and Megatron was already putting on her coat while balancing her phone between her shoulder and ear. “Well, she got upset and started drinking...and now she won’t let me take her home and I tried calling a cab…”
 

“She doesn’t like cabs.”
 

“So she's said.” The stranger comments with an ounce of chagrin - commonplace when dealing with an upset Starscream. Megatron would be amused at the woman’s misfortune and ruined date but she was busy reaching her office doors. Pulling a set of keys from a cabinet and moving towards the elevator. “I’m sorry she told me to call this number but the name is just…”
 

“Under some form of insult I’m sure.” Megatron cuts her off, counting the floors as any other waiting employees shuffle off quickly to give her space. She must look something fierce scowling at the slow moving elevator. “Tell her I’m on my way and see if you can pry whatever liquor she's chugging out of her hands. I won’t have her making a mess of my car.”
 

“But who are---” Megatron hangs up before stepping onto the elevator, done with conversing with Starscream’s date.
 

Thanks to Soundwave the address for the stained wood and copper restaurant Starscream is causing havoc at is waiting in her GPS - safest route highlighted with any potential driving hazards on the digital map. It’s not far and the company SUV she takes is safe enough that the drive is hardly rough. Heavy tires and all wheel drive, the same model (speaking of HR nightmares) Shockwave requested when it became her responsibility to pick Soundwave’s children up from school on occasion. Which spoke volumes that Soundwave accepted the model as safe enough for the twins.
 

The restaurant isn’t too far and she parks out front, making eye contact with the valet who seems completely fine not to have to step from the warmth of his box as Megatron leaves the engine running.
 

She steps inside, snow managing to dust the shoulders of her hair and wool coat, but otherwise only leaves the smallest remnants where she steps. Gazing across stained wood floors cradling small scattered tables of patrons likely lingering to wait out the storm. The hostess points her to the bar at the smallest question and she knows that’s where she’ll find Starscream before even spotting the lump of black silk and hearing the clank of silver rings clutching glass.
 

The bar is a half circle of shined purple wood beneath a canopy of gold lights like falling stars. Warm music plays gentle and low from hidden speakers and the fresh scent of crushed mint and bourbon is almost as powerful as the flood of Starscream’s cologne still clinging to the slouched form.
 

“C’mon try and drink this.” A woman, wide but handsome enough, hovers over Starscream’s skinny shoulder, trying to nudge water into her grasp and rejected by a long groan and a slurred curse. She looks more concerned than annoyed and Megatron supposes that’s new for Starscream’s dates. Usually they leave yelling or threatening to sue.
 

“Starscream, get up.” Her voice surprises the date, Wheeljack, who abandons her attempts and addresses Megatron in full. Eyes round when she takes in her snow speckled form.
 

“Oh.” Wheeljack says. “Oh.”
 

Starscream moves, looking up from the crook of her arm. Skin flushed dark and mascara beginning to collect in the corners of her eyes. She’s frowning but her fake-blue eyes look glassy and tired as alcohol swims through her head making it difficult to focus. She acknowledges Megatron at least, lifting her chin higher and the subtle tint from before is replaced with a swollen lip from obsessive chewing, anxious wear of soft skin under angry teeth.
 

“It’s snowing.” Came the pitiful voice.
 

“It does that sometimes.” Lowers her volume, trying to meet the other’s gaze. “It’s only going to get worse. We're leaving.”
 

"Why?" Starscream whines, too drunk when she speaks but her body responds to the order. Swaying when she stands and Wheeljack goes to assist only to be swatted away with a growl. Her date looks surprised, glancing between the two as Starscream is stumbling into Megatron’s shadow, and seems to find something acceptable. Retreating a step to allow Megatron to handle things from there.
 

“Because you’re going to embarrass yourself, but more importantly: me.” The coat reaches Starscream’s ankles when Megatron swings it around thin shoulders - no care for the red jacket lost somewhere at the bar and empty glasses of various liquors. Wheeljack can keep it for all she cares, too focused now on Starscream’s shivering form and how easily the seeker falls into her side.
 

“I don’t care about that.” Starscream sneers at the floor, forgetting to struggle against indignity and her date entirely, “You took forever to get here.” Bitches as she walks, hands squeezing the lapels of Megatron’s coat.
 

“Stop complaining.” Megatron at least still has some manners, giving Wheeljack an acceptable nod. Wordlessly accepting responsibility and thanking her, choosing to look past how much she wants to push Starscream’s date off a building for letting things get this far. “We’re not far from your home.”

Starscream lets out a spoiled scoff but leans into her, almost tripping on her own clicking heels as they move towards glancing patrons and curious stares of staff.

 

They reach the doors, glassy and lit to the world outside and Megatron feels Starscream’s entire body tense. Weight drops, trying to stop as wide eyes seem to remember the sight of it and almost tries to back up.
 

“No.” Megatron’s arm is an unbreakable grip behind Starscream’s back, keeping her upright and still while just past the doors is her truck. Waiting and warm - but Starscream only saw the flurries coming down and collecting on white sidewalks and slushy streets.
 

“Can I stay here?”
 

“You can’t sleep in a restaurant.”
 

“I bet I can.” She sounds small, throat choked up in fear as Megatron gives another gentle nudge towards the door only to fold Starscream closer to herself. Her hand large enough to cradle the back of a gel stiff skull and ease Starscream’s cheek to rest against her chest.
 

“I’m taking you home. This isn’t a negotiation.” The woman’s body is rigid beneath her touch, breath speeding with the beginning of panic mixing with alcohol already shifting her moods. Megatron exhales a long sigh, pulling the collar of her coat collar higher over Starscream’s exposed throat best she can.

“Just get to the car. I’ll take care of the rest.”

 

Starscream answers with a small nod only felt through Megatron’s jacket and lets herself be lead through glass doors and into the chill winds. It’s only a few steps to the car and Starscream almost jumps into the passenger seat before Megatron fully opens the door. Sitting there and watching Megatron step around to the driver’s side with an owlish expression. Limbs buried in the coat too large for her but somehow not large enough to protect her. This time Megatron has more snow damp on her shoulders and hair, sticking to her face, but she ignores that for now. Reaching across and buckling Starscream’s huddled form.
 

“I can do that.” The seeker snaps.
 

“But you didn’t.” Megatron snaps back and she knows the anger is only a distraction from what looks like terror fighting for dominance over Starscream’s features. It only gets worse when Megatron settles back to her seat, seat belt fastened, and the first shift of the vehicle out of park has Starscream’ letting out a low gasp and digging the soles of boots into the floorboard. “It’s ok.” She tries to reassure her, uncertain if she's doing it right.
 

“Shut up.” Starscream barely manages to croak from a swollen throat, already looking around wildly for dangers. “Don’t look at me, just drive.”
 

They pull out and onto the street, the crunch of snow beneath tires parting effortlessly against the weight. A car passes too fast - sprays slush as it goes and Megatron can hear Starscream cracking her knuckles beneath the coat. Obsessive and constant until it’s just the soft crunch of cartilage and no more. She tries not to look too often at her passenger, knowing if caught Starscream will assume something is wrong, but it’s difficult to ignore. Starscream who flies jets with reckless abandon, who stands in the belly of engines and oogles modern weaponry with the delight of a widower purchasing new diamonds - the same woman now huddled into herself. Flinching at every slow turn or passing car, gaping with quickened breath at the snowfall that has never been a threat to Megatron.
 

They reach a light just as it turns red, Megatron already easing on the brakes and the wheels take a moment to respond over an ice patch. That’s all it takes for Starscream to fly into a panic, slapping the dashboard and yelling.
 

“StopStop!” Legs lifting from the floorboard and curling up as the vehicle comes to a stop just above the white line - no harm or danger. Hardly anything to worry over. “Fuck! What are you doing?!”

“Starscream.”

“You can’t brake that fast! You don’t have the traction for---” There’s snow still melting in Starscream’s hair and she looks absolutely petrified.

 

“Starscream.” Megatron grabs the woman’s wrist, tugging it away from the dashboard and across the center console until it can reach her torso. The seeker is left folded over the space but Megatron still has the red and more than enough time to press the cold hand over her shirt, tie catching on the other’s gold bangle bracelet.

"Calm down." Megatron's heartbeat is steady and soft beneath where she pins Starscream’s palm. Watching the other struggle to focus on it, on anything at all, before she frowns. A wrinkled face upset by absolutely everything before exhaustion and dizziness seems to catch up to the adrenaline spike.

 

“I need you to trust me.” She asks while Starscream squirms in the seat, looking both hurt and challenged as the light turns green before them. Megatron doesn’t release the brake just yet, waiting for the woman to relax if just minutely in the shoulders. Letting the hand slip from her grasp and fall to Megatron’s right thigh.
 

“I do.” She sounds miserable, trying to reposition herself in the passenger seat so she is secure but can still reach Megatron’s thigh. Manicured nails digging into the muscle beneath slacks - unpleasant - but Megatron will take that over shrieking panic of before. Giving the woman a moment until she seems ready to carry on their drive home.

 

Starscream doesn’t yell, but she still flinches and gives a harsh cringe every turn or brake she's not prepared for. When the vehicle rocks in the slightest over built-up snow on uneven pavement she digs her nails into Megatron’s leg and breathes harder until she has to close her eyes. Then immediately opens them out of fear she might miss something and turns to Megatron for assurance that everything is fine.
 

It’s annoying, but not distracting, and Megatron can’t be upset. She knows why the slightest skate of wheels on frozen ground makes Starscream forget how to breathe - forgoing all care of her dignity to simply be what she is: A woman afraid. So she allows Starscream to be just that, without judgement or taking it personal when she spies the other tensing up. Stomping her foot when she thinks they should brake. Or even biting her lip so hard she fears she'll be bleeding before they reach their destination.
 

It takes longer than she wanted to reach Starscream’s building, pulling into the underground garage protected from the weather and taking the guest parking space. Starscream has gone still, slouched over after retrieving her hand from Megatron’s leg and seems exhausted so Megatron doesn’t make her move. She steps out and around to retrieve her, holding her shoulder as they move and letting Starscream use her as little more than a walking stick until the elevator where she retreats to the farthest wall of the cramped space. Taking them up to the suite floor and Megatron follows silently as Starscream punches in codes and steps into the safety of her home.

She drops Megatron’s coat to the floor and rushes into the bathroom, water blasts heavily from the sink and either she's scrubbing her face of dried snow or she's getting sick from too many drinks - Megatron doesn’t know. She should leave, Starscream is fine and is never pleasant once the thought to be embarrassed for her behavior comes back around, but she lingers. Telling herself "just a minute more".

Moving to the living room with all it’s modern lines and uncomfortable furniture to locate the remote that controls everything in the suite. Automated blinds lowering with the soft purr of unseen machinery so that when Starscream emerges she won’t have to see the outside world.

 

Starscream, who is taking her sweet time in the bathroom, to the point even Megatron is ready to forgo her chivalrous intentions after 20 minutes.
 

“I’m leaving.” Calls down the hall of gray and dim lighting - unsure if Starscream can even hear her over the water still on high. It was already nine, and while not the latest, Megatron’s home is across town. She’d like to make it there before the worst of the weather came rolling in. “Our conference call is at six! Call your sisters to get you!” She goes to retrieve her coat only for the water to stop running - Starscream nearly losing her footing (now bare) on the hardwood floors.
 

“You’re going?” She asks and Megatron sees why it took so long. Her skin scrubbed to the point of red streaks marking across her elegant features. Down her throat and chest as she can see past the loosely hanging robe the woman changed into. Hairline damp and beginning to curl from Starscream clawing off makeup and the humiliation of her behavior before rushing out there. Not even bothering to tie the satin robe correctly. “But it’s--” She looks towards the now closed windows but not being able to see the weather doesn’t change her swaying fear.
 

“It will be worse in a few hours. I need to get home.” Megatron is not afraid of the snow like Starscream is. She doesn't flinch or whine or cry when ice builds on the roads, doesn’t need to close her eyes to hide from it only to be taken back to a terrible memory. She’s not afraid of much, Starscream pretends not to be.
 

“It’s already worse!” Starscream scrubbed too hard on her throat and red welts are forming, probably matching the sharp pain across Megatron’s thigh where the seeker clung during their drive. Starscream would be furious at herself in the morning for it, would wear some sleek turtleneck and comment on fashion all day so no one would think about it (not that anyone would). Starscream’s contacts were gone and all Megatron was left with was a pleading face, swollen and red, with round warm eyes cutting through her without ever really needing to try.
 

"Just stay here tonight." Starscream looking afraid. For her. Worried. For her. Devastating. That’s what Starscream is. In all the wicked and fragile ways Megatron could imagine and she loses the argument before Starscream reaches for her hand. 

 

---


 

There is a folder on Starscream that exists only digitally somewhere in Soundwave’s endless storage. Created before Megatron hired her, before she ever spoke to the young woman who was making her name known at the forefront of a dying company bearing her father’s name. A plane burning as it came barreling down to earth and its pilot ignoring the fire.
 

It contained standard information, focused equally on Seeker Air Command as well as the Vosian heir. Heir to a crumbling name and all that she could keep above water at such a young and inexperienced age. Soundwave, ever thorough, made sure to note anything bizarre in the young woman’s past. Her school records publicly wiped clean of any indiscretions - her teachers and earliest advisers paid by doting parents to give Starscream the best recommendations. One incident stood out, one that seemed to cost the family more money to erase from the public eye.
 

A car wreck in Starscream’s university years. Midwinter and a single casualty, another student. Megatron had chalked it up to the foolish decisions of college students and thought no more of it until Starscream worked for her. Until an unexpected snowstorm sent her up-and-coming aerospace engineer hiding in the backseat of their rented car. Hyperventilating until Megatron had to take over for the driver. The young woman somehow comforted by Megatron in control rather than a stranger. Only then did Megatron take notice of how her subordinate never drove in winter, how she changed her schedule to never be out in chance of a storm - how her sick days were always taken when the worst of the weather came around.
 

Only by Megatron’s leniency of Starscream’s less destructive habits could she get away with it...and she continued to permit Starscream to do so under the false thought that it made her life less chaotic in winter. When really she knew it had only to do with a dislike of the thought she’d be forcing Starscream into panic.
 

Which made their current position all the more difficult to write off as happenstance.
 

Starscream fell asleep within the hour of them laying down after Megatron had showed no interest in any bedroom activities. She undressed, let the robed woman tuck into her chest, and waited until the breathing evened out and dark lashes fluttered only in the shift of dreams and deeper sleep.
 

Her arm numb beneath Starscream’s weight, and leg sore from five welts spotted when she changed, she was unable to do more than lay there. Listen to the snap of sleet rain over the thick windows, the distance hum of heat kicking on and the rattle of Starscream’s breathing. Uncomfortable to eventually reach for her phone, seeing that Soundwave had already contacted her to inform of their early meeting being rescheduled before Megatron had a chance to give the order.
 

A conference call canceled, “due to weather”, she snorts a laugh and goes still as the sound causes the woman to stir. Dark brow frowns but drifts back off with ease. Undisturbed by Megatron's silent observations, or the way Megatron keeps her aching arm wrapped around the other's body rather than disturb her sleep.

When Megatron hired the inexperience brat - snarling twenty something year old without a clue of how to conduct herself - she swore she'd break Starscream of her spoiled nature. There was too much to gain with such a brilliant and clever woman that Megatron couldn't fathom tolerating such behavior for long. It's been years since that thought first entered Megatron's mind...she still hasn't gotten around to it. 

 

She wonders if Starscream will ever realize how quickly Megatron will order the world to bend just for her. 

 

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