Easing Into The Routine
Verse: G1/IDW Fusion AU
Warnings: past slavery. slash. sparklings. mech-preg. sticky. In other words the content is mature. Optimus behaving badly. =X Starscream being Starscream. Or as I like to call them Snark!scream and Sneakimus Prime.
Pairings/Characters: Thundercracker, Prowl, Jazz, Soundwave, Skywarp, Starscream, Optimus Prime, Ravage, Rumble, Frenzy.
Notes: Sequel to Desperate Measures and A Malady Without a Cure . I would recommend you read both before this. It will make that much more sense.
Summary: The Autobots win the war, but not everything is as it should be.
Optimus shoved the datapads at Starscream, “File these.”
He wasn’t surprised to hear the seeker’s high pitched shriek. “I’m not your SECRETARY-BOT! That’s not my job.”
“Starscream, what exactly IS your job then?”
The seeker glared. “I’m your personal assistant.”
“And I’m asking you to personally assist me and file those data pads. Problem solved.”
“I HATE you.” Starscream pronounced for what must have been the millionth time that day. Optimus looked entirely unimpressed by the declaration. It lacked any of the real vehemence that the seeker used to reserve for such statements.
“You keep saying that.” Optimus hummed, “But you are still here. Still living in my home. you moved your bondmate and his offspring into my home.” Optimus was secretly pleased about all of it, but he managed to keep it out of his tone. His amusement, however, seeped through.
“That was your idea!” Starscream huffed, his glare turning baleful.
“You went along with it quite fine when I suggested it.” Optimus said readily, a grin sliding onto his unmasked face.
“Starscream.” Prime laughed, unable to help himself. He enjoyed their banter, perhaps more than he should. Not that he was going to tell that to Starscream, not yet in any case.
“What?” Starscream finally said, looking put out at this point.
“The datapads.” Prime said in a cheerful tone, his smile growing if anything.
“Oh, whatever.” The seeker threw up his hands. “Fine. I will file the stupid things.” He stomped away down the hallway, growling to himself. “Glitch is more manipulative than Megatron.”
“I heard that!”
Starscream shot the Prime an appraising look, his optics half-lidded. His lip-plates, finally turned up into an amused grin, but for once he said nothing. Sometimes, silence really was the best weapon. It niggled under Prime’s plating, and that amused him more than anything.
Soundwave stared at the bespectacled mech that sat across from him. He was not entirely sure what to make of the diminutive, red Autobot, and he was not even sure that this was going to help him out in any shape or form.
Rung looked up at him, “What would you like to discuss today?”
Soundwave heaved a little sigh inside, “Soundwave: does not know what to think. Starscream: Acting peculiar. Optimus: Acting...shifty. Living situation: stressful.”
Rung nodded, as he jotted something on his datapad. “Indeed, and why do you feel that way?”
“Soundwave: Not convinced that Optimus is not trying to take away Starscream, uses sparklings to manipulate the situation.”
“You think his motivation is suspect?”
“Correct: there is not much left to lose. Without Prime’s good will there is no place to go.”
“Have you expressed these feelings to those around you?”
“Negative: I---I am afraid it will make the situation worse. Can’t handle being alone. Do not know what to do.”
Rung nodded his head, still jotting something on the datapad, “What are some of the things that trouble you most?”
Soundwave looked away, feeling exposed. “Honestly: the sparklings. I worry, I just worry for them. I am afraid something will happen to them. Or...Optimus will take them away.”
“You seem to feel scared of a lot of the things going on, is that close to how your feeling?”
“Paranoid, and scared: It’s irrational.” The cassette carrier vented, “Soundwave: should speak with Optimus.”
“If you think that would help.”
Soundwave puttered, that was the most apt word Starscream could think of to describe the way Soundwave worked at the counter, fixing gelled energon and some other energon confections that Starscream did not even have words for. The twins watched their creator with wide eyes, quiet for once. They knew better than to beg.
Soundwave seemed more grounded since he had joined his mate at the Prime’s home. The psychologist helped, clearly. Starscream had been firmly against it, at first, but Prime had convinced him. Rung was not so bad, Starscream supposed. Not when he helped Soundwave so much.
Prime had been kind to them. Far more kind than any of them had the right to expect. He was still a jerk as far as Starscream was concerned, but a useful jerk. He was patient with the sparklings, and went out of his way to help Soundwave. It was all very---domestic, and in many ways Starscream did not know how to handle the very...normality of the situation. It was as if he had forgotten how to live, and what life was like without the war.
“Starscream: Should be at work with Prime.” The cassette carrier frowned as he stopped and turned, watching Starscream.
“Prime gave me the day off. I do get them...you know. And---I---I wanted to talk to you about something.” Starscream said, looking nervous.
Soundwave completely turned from the counter, his full attention on the seeker. “Starscream: Nervous. Bad news, perhaps?”
Starscream pursed his lips. Soundwave knew him too well, and he knew his mate was not going to like what he had to say. “That is a matter of perspective, I suppose.”
“Starscream: facetious this cycle.”
Starscream huffed, “Oh, stop it. Stop trying to bait me. I get that enough from Optimus.” Starscream glared and barreled on. “I think we should take Optimus as a lover.”
“Starscream---” The cassette carrier glared, his mood turning in an instant. “How---how can you suggest such a thing?” His voice went to static for a moment, he opened his mouth and the words would just would not come. “Starscream: Despicable. Meg---Megatron is barely offline and you will leave Soundwave as well. What of our sparks? Will you abandon them as well? Starscream: hates Soundwave? What have---you don’t want me now?” The cassette carrier asked, his voice dropping to a bare whisper.
“Stop. Just stop right there.” He crossed the space between them, pulling Soundwave into his arms. “It’s not like that.That wasn’t what I meant. If WE, and I mean both of us, cement our relationship with Prime we have a lot to gain. Power, prestige, but more importantly we can ensure the safety of our sparklings. Optimus is good with the sparks that live with us. You can’t tell me you don’t think he would make a good sire.”
Soundwave sighed against him. He hated it when Starscream appealed to his practical side. “Optimus: Is good with the sparks.” He finally admitted, not sounding happy with it. “Social standing: is desired. Less trouble for us in the long run. Safety: assured. Place in society: secured.”
“Precisely.” Starscream said. Soundwave could be very practical about such things when made to see the reason.
Optimus watched the seeker interact with Rumble and Frenzy and was more than a bit puzzled. It was odd seeing the former minicons in sparkling frames, like they should have been the whole time. It was stranger still seeing them climbing and clinging to the seeker; begging for treats, games, stories, and just overall whatever the tri-colored mech would give them. He knew they were not Starscream’s sparklings, but Megatron’s. Even without the seeker’s admission of that fact there was plenty of coding evidence that pointed to it.
Optimus watched the seeker help the sparklings head to recharge, and wondered if it had been like this on the Nemesis. He finally couldn’t contain his curiosity and began questioning as soon as they were out of hearing range from the sparks. “Starscream, I’m...do not take this wrong, I am merely curious. Rumble and Frenzy aren’t your sparklings, and yet...you treat them as though they are.”
Starscream gave him a startled look. “I... they are just as much mine as Megatron’s or Soundwave’s. It is not a matter of coding. I raised them, they are my mates’ sparks, so they are my own. Love does not know coding, Optimus, and I love those little mechlets.”
“No, I suppose it doesn’t.” Optimus nodded, not entirely surprised by Starscream’s answer. When the seeker and the cassette carrier had been processed at the detention center datapads had been found in their subspace. It wasn’t until the council had been restructured that Optimus learned of their existence. Pictures of Megatron holding what could have only been newly sparked Laserbeak and Buzzsaw. Starscream sitting at his desk and absently petting Ravage on the head. The three creators curled up in recharge on a berth with at least four of the sparklings. And many others of similar disposition. They had been a family. A happy family.
Starscream and Soundwave had acted like they’d been given back their world when the datapads were returned. Along with several confiscated from the Nemesis that now were prominently displayed around the domicile. Odd and oddly domestic, just like the mechs themselves.
The mechlet’s followed Optimus Prime down the path that wound through the gardens, their optics wide as they looked about. They gawked at the crystal growths.
“Boss-bot, what in the pit is this?” Rumble asked in barely contained delight.
Optimus laughed, “The crystal gardens, It is Red Alert’s pet project. He wishes to see his home city restored to the marvel it was before the war.”
The two mechlets blinked up at him, and looked as if they were trying to figure out if he was joking or not.
“You’re glitching, aren’t you, boss?” Frenzy finally asked. “Red Alerts a Praxian? One with artistic tastes? You foolin’ us?”
Optimus laughed again, “I assure you, I’m not.”
The little bots didn’t look convinced. “If you say so.” Rumble said, shaking his head.
They wandered through the maze of towering crystal in silence for a while, until Rumble broke through it. “Do you like us? I mean our family? Cause...ya know...we kinda like things the way they are....”
Optimus looked down at him fondly. “Yes. I like your family. I’m hoping it will be my family as well one day.”
Rumble nodded, “So...you aren’t going to leave us?”
“Shut up,” Frenzy butted in, “Sire said he wouldn’t leave. He promised, and look how that turned out.” The little mechlet was pushing back the coolant in his optics.
“No, you shut up.” Rumble said, pushing his brother.
Optimus sighed, grabbing them both before they could do damage to themselves or the crystals. He stooped then, kneeling so he was eye-level with the two mechlets. “Can you keep a secret?”
The little bots looked at each other, and Optimus knew from the unfocused look in their optics that they were communicating across the bond. “Sure, we can keep a secret. Promise.”
Optimus nodded, looking serious. “I really do want us to be a family. I care for you all. I care for your creators very, very much. But it’s going to take time. They are scared and hurt...I’m going to make it better, but you have to be patient.”
Frenzy watched him for a long moment before nodding. “You better not be lying. I'd have to make ya really sorry if you were.”
“I wouldn't lie about something like this.” Optimus said solemnly.
Frenzy squinted at him, “Are you and carrier going to make more sparks? Cause he’s been really sad since...you know....”
“I---we’ll see. One thing at a time, sparklet.” The Prime hoped he didn’t appear as flustered as he felt. One thing at a time. One thing at a time.
Rumble huffed, and rolled his optics at his brother and Optimus. “Can we get some candy? Please? We’ve been good. We ain’t broke nothing at all today.’
Optimus winked at Frenzy, and offered them both a hand as he stood. “I think I know the perfect place.
They did not have too far of a walk to the confectioner. The little bots blinked as Optimus took them into the shop. “Optimus you old plate scraper. What are you doing here?” Inferno said from behind the counter, looking cheerful.
Optimus blinked at him for a moment in surprise. Or perhaps not. Where Red Alert went Inferno was sure to not be far behind.
"What's a plate scraper?" Rumble asked, brow-plates going up.
“Let's not tell your carrier or sire you ever heard that" Optimus sighed, and shook his head. “We’re after some gelled energon, and maybe some confections.”
Rumble moved to the glass display, pressing his face against the glass. “They look so good.”
“And taste better than they look.” Inferno said, laughing as he offered The mechlets an energon truffle.
They both gobbled the truffles down, leaving their hands a sticky mess. It did not deter Optimus from ordering a tray of assorted confections: Oil cakes, energon truffles, gelled energon, rust sticks, and crystal bon-bons. All three bots dug in, and in the end they were all sticky with energon and oil. Optimus himself covered in sticky fingerprints from the little bots. He found he didn’t really mind it. Well, that much.
Starscream watched Optimus and the twins. They had all needed to be run through the wash racks after their trip out, and now the large bot was playing Praxus fold’em with the little terrors before recharge. The two little bots were cheating, and badly. It was obvious that Optimus knew, but he just grinned and let the brothers get away with it.
Starscream could only look on in amusement. Optimus seemed generally fond of the sparklings, and they of him. He knew that they missed their sire terribly, and as odd as it sounded Optimus reminded them of him. The large bot spoiled them, sneaking them energon candies when he thought their carrier and caretaker were not looking. Starscream did not really entirely know what to make of it. All he did know what that Optimus was a good bot and did seem to genuinely care for the sparklings, whether he had other motivation or not.
Optimus looked up from the card game and winked at him, giving the seeker a tiny Mad Hatter grin before going back to playing with the two mechlings. Starscream could only shake his head. He really did not understand the Prime in the least.
Soundwave had two energon cubes waiting for them by the time that Starscream and Optimus wound their way home at the end of the cycle. Optimus gave Soundwave a grateful smile, and picked up the sparklings when they came running, which they did.
“Did you bring us candies?” Rumble asked, clinging to Optimus’ back. “Did you?”
Optimus grinned, and reached into his subspace. “Of course, little bot. I told you I would.” He carried them all to the couch in front of the vidscreen, and handed the candied energon over. The two little bots curled up against Optimus, and then Starscream when the flier finally took a seat. For ones so small they were good at taking up a lot of space.
Rumble moved, curling himself against Starscream’s chest and made a little sound of surprise. He looked up at Starscream, and then over at Soundwave who was putting in a vid. “Creator?”
“When are you going to have the newspark?”
“What?” Starscream looked down at the little bot.
“The newspark, it’s chatty.” Rumble said, “Carrier said I was chatty and I told him my name cycles and cycles before I emerged.” He petted the place where the newspark rested against Starscream’s spark. “He says his name is Nebula. I think another brother will be nice.”
Starscream looked up, catching Soundwave’s gaze. “I wasn’t sure about it. I was---I was going to go to the medic before i said anything.”
Soundwave smiled, “News: Excellent.”
“Birth control: Ineffective.” Starscream teased back. “I really should have upgraded it vorns ago. But it is good news never the less.”
“It is.” Prime rumbled, looking pleased himself. “Congratulations.”
Starscream could not help but frown as Prime brushed up against him for what seemed like the the millionth time that cycle. Brushed and lingered, but not so long that he could say for sure that it was purposeful. The Prime’s field pushed against his teasingly again, a light touch, but it sent Starscream’s engine purring with want. Oh good, he was going to be a tactile carrier. He stared at the Prime, who shot him a smile. A perfectly innocent smile.
“Is something wrong, Starscream?” Optimus asked blandly.
“No---no--nothing at all.” Starscream replied, his optics going wide, and he couldn’t help but wonder if the mech he was trying to seduce was trying to seduce him in turn.
“Ah.” Prime nodded, “I left some datapads for you to go over, they have the results of Perceptor’s latest endeavours in more efficient energy output. I thought you might have suggestions.”
Starscream picked up the datapad and turned it on, and almost dropped it when a vid started playing. His optics grew big and he leaded in, watching a flier, Optimus, and Wheeljack writhing on a berth; doing... well it was obvious what they were doing. The flier turned to face whoever was making the recording and he almost dropped it again---Skyfire.
“Something wrong?” Optimus asked, giving the seeker a bland look.
Starscream opened his mouth and a little squeak came out. He cycled his vocal processor once, twice, and then a third time before he could get anything to come out. “I don’t think this is the right pad.”
“Oh?” Optimus leaned over Starscream and looked at the pad, the vid still playing, “No, it doesn’t look like it is.”
“Humans have a word for this.” Starscream managed, his optics still ogling the vid.
“Am I harassing you? Really?” Optimus chuckled, “Because from the way you have been throwing yourself at me...”
“I was NOT throwing myself at you.” Starscream said indignantly. Optimus laughed, and plucked the pad from his hand. Starscream tried to grab it. “I wasn’t done with that.”
“As you said, it was the wrong pad.” The Prime pulled the pad close to his chassis, acting as if he were about to subspace it.
“Optimus Prime, you give that back to me. Now!” Starscream screeched, reaching for it again.
“Well, since I am harassing you I’m sure you will prefer the Pad Perceptor sent over. Let me go get it.” Optimus said smoothly.
“You glitch! You rusted out glitch! You aren’t harassing me. I’ve been trying to get under your plating, and it just isn’t working. Now give me the pad back.” The seeker was working himself up into a full blown tizzy.
Optimus laughed, “Oh, it’s working. Now settle down, that can’t be good for the newspark. Maybe, if you behave, we could watch it together?” He offered, nearly purring as he guided to seeker over to one of the seats in front of the vidscreen.
He plugged the datapad into the vidscreen and stepped back, before taking a seat next to Starscream. “Better?”
“Oh, dear Primus.” Starscream said, his fans kicking in again. “I---” He canted his head to the side. “You wouldn’t think a shuttle was that---”
“Flexible?” Prime chuckled, scooting closer to the jetformer until their fields meshed, dancing happily against one another. “You should see some of the ones with Beachcomber. He was a real petrorabbit in the berth.”
The seeker sputtered. “Beachcomber too? Were you having orgies over on the Ark?”
“Not that often.” Optimus said with a perfectly innocent shrug.
Starscream felt his cheekplates heating up, and he finally covered his face, peeking between his fingers. “Megatron would have had---I think this would have made him glitch. He would have had you in our berth in half a sparkbeat if he’d ever known this. Slag, that’s hot.” He vented loudly, his whole system heating up.
Optimus grinned, leaning in he ghosted one hand across the top of the nearest wing. His grin only grew when he heard the seeker’s interface panel snick open. One moment Starscream was beside him; the next thing he knew he had an eager, and determined, lap-full of seeker. Optimus wasn’t one to complain about such a dire situation. His hands skated across Starscream’s plating, across the seeker’s hips, and finally pulled him closer to catch his lips and silence a moan before it had a chance to emerge. Starscream keened against Optimus’ lips as the Prime’s hands wandered, dipping into seams along the seeker’s sides. He plucked at wiring until the seeker was whining and begging for more.
The semiformers fingers wandered down to Starscream’s interface panel, finally stopping on the edge. “Starscream, we can’t do this. Not yet at least. Not until we’re bonded and Soundwave can be with us.”
The seeker keened, “So help me Optimus, if you don’t...” He whimpered, “You can’t leave me like this.” The seeker shivered and whimpered more, and it took a long moment for the words to sink in, “Bonded? All three of us? Really?”
Optimus chuckled, “No? Isn’t that what you are aiming for?” He nibbled at the seeker’s neck.
“Scrap. Am I so obvious?” The flier panted.
Optimus made an amused noise, and held Starscream tight around the waist with one arm. “I suppose...I can’t leave a mech in your condition hanging.” His fingers traced along the panel before dipping into the seeker’s valve. “I could help you.” He added a second finger to the first, scissoring them, hitting every node along the way until he had the seeker screaming in overload.
Soundwave gave him a thoroughly disgruntled and unhappy look, “Optimus: Stop these games. My sparklings have been through enough.” The cassette carrier hunched his shoulders, his posture becoming stiff like an injured thing. “Ravage and Frenzy: not pawns. Sparklings: have been through much. Have already lost one creator, can not stand to lose another. They are not...tools for you to use to get close to MY mate.”
Optimus’ optics widened, “Is that what you think this is about? Oh, Soundwave.” Prime vented loudly, and took a step towards the other mech. “I don't want to just frag Starscream. I want...have wanted since long before the war....to have a family. I care about Rumble and Frenzy, I care about Starscream, and Yes...I care about you.”
Soundwave’s shoulders hunched further, not entirely believing what was coming out of Optimus’ vocal processor. He could tell the bot believed it, and yet he hesitated. “Optimus: is a danger.”
“If I were truly a danger do you believe Starscream would have allowed those mechlets, more precious to him than himself, anywhere near me?" Optimus raised a browplate, taking a step closer to Soundwave, and then another. “I want you both. I want to call the sparklings my own. I want to be part of a family, this family. I don’t know how I can be any more clear about it.” He pressed his chasis against Soundwave’s and raised a hand, cupping the bot’s cheek. “I am not trying to replace Megatron. I know there will always be a place in your spark that loves him and misses him. And he will always be Rumble and Frenzy’s sire. But don’t you think there is room enough for me as well?”
Soundwave watched him, blinking. This was the last thing he had expected. Part of him wanted to go to Optimus, and yet part of him had trouble believing anything that the bot said.
“You doubt my sincerity? Why? Do you think I would dishonour your mate? I did not agree with Megatron’s methods, but I always respected him. I will care for his sparklings as my own. Don’t doubt it for a moment. Have I not taken care of you?”
Soundwave looked up at him, shaking. “Optimus---”
“Have I not taken care of Starscream?” Optimus’ lip plates curled into an amused smile.
“Optimus: a manipulative glitch.”
Optimus laughed, and leaned down until their lip-plates nearly touched, “I will take that as a compliment,” he said before closing the distance.
Optimus sat back with Soundwave and watched as their bondmate greeted his brothers. It was amazing how much difference a vorn could make. The younglings were in larger frames, nearing adulthood, and Ravage was finally there. He was only slightly surprised that the black mech had ended up settling on a Praxian frame. Even less so when he started courting Bluestreak. The mech had shown a partiality for the gunner even as a mechlet on the opposite faction. Smokescreen, luckily, seemed pleased about the match, and the mechs themselves very happy. There was talk of grandsparks. There was also talk of forcibly installing hardware against it, but that largely came from an overprotective uncle in the form of Prowl. Optimus was ninety percent certain the mech was joking. Ninety percent. Even if the ten percent were the case the Prime was fairly certain Thundercracker would prevent it.
He had bonded into a unique family. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. It was beautiful when a plan came together this flawlessly.
“Optimus: smug today.” Soundwave niggled, his own amusement apparent.
Optimus laughed, his gaze following Starscream to where he stood chatting with Thundercracker and holding Nebula. The sparkling was not long past his second upgrade. His winglets fluttered happily as Starscream held him tightly. “What isn’t there to be content about?”
Optimus marveled at how fast the sparkling was developing. He had never really been around one that young. Not on a day to day basis, and he found that Starscream was very much right. Coding did not matter. Nebula was just as much his than if he had carried the sparkling himself. That in itself was an interesting idea, maybe he would even run it by his mates later. He was far from adverse to having a few more little mechlets running about.
It amused him that Prowl seemed to have the same thought; as Rumble and Frenzy went walking by, carrying their cousins. Twins the first time, and the seeker was already sparked again. He supposed they were making up for lost time. Not that Optimus could blame them. Thundercracker had been through a lot, and his family at least brought him joy.
Soundwave made a noise that sounded a lot like a snicker to Optimus, and scooted over to curl against the larger mech.
Optimus quirked his brow as he watched Jazz and Skywarp sidle up the Starscream and Thundercracker, Prowl following close behind.
"So, Warp was telling me that seekers traditionally share mates with their siblings.” Jazz said, leering at them both.
"You're not touching my TC, Jazz." Prowl said from behind Jazz, giving him the evil-optic if Optimus had ever seen one.
"Who said I was just talking TC? You, me, your delightful blue boy, and my Warpster. Whataya say?" Jazz grinned broadly right up until Thundercracker slapped him and then thwapped Skywarp upside the head for good measure.
“That is what I think of that.” Thundercracker said, hitting Warp again.
Optimus frowned, and looked to Soundwave before tugging on Starscream’s end of the bond. ::Should I step in and break it up?::
::Slag no. Wait long enough and they will invite us too.:: Starscream replied, his mind voice rolling with amusement, and not a little lust.
::Skywarp does this thing with his glossa..::
::...And Thundercracker does this to deactivate for thing with hip movement that makes you wonder where he...:: The seeker was making rude gestures with his free hand now. Skywarp was giggling, having caught on to what they were talking about through the bond. He must have passed it on to his own bonded, because Jazz was lit up like the long ago human custom of the fourth of July. Thundercracker was rolling his optics but not even attempting to hide the smile. Prowl was not quite as sanguine. The Praxian had sunk to the floor and was holding his head in his hands, probably trying to ward off a glitch. Even little Nebula was cooing, unaware of the conversation but amused by his carrier’s antics.