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The Thieving Magpie

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It was pretty. And it was shiny. And it looked very nice from here. But he knew that from nearer, it wouldn’t be so nice anymore. Still, it was bright and pretty. Perhaps he should take it with him?

He knew he shouldn’t. Others wouldn’t be happy with him, he supposed.

But it was so shiny!

And he liked shiny things! Especially gorgeous, shiny, yellow things. Too bad the other yellow shining thing, the one with the cute face, wasn’t in range anymore; he would have been fine too.

But this one was much more shinier, much more bigger, and much more gorgeous. So shiny!

He plundged toward the ground and took the struggling thing into his talons.

“Let me down, you stupid excuse for a mech!”

Yes, he was shiny and beautiful and he just wanted to hold him close, but really, he wasn’t very nice...

Ah, well... No matter.


He should have known things were far too quiet. It was, as humans said, the calm before the storm. And the storm looked like a red Lamborghini who seemed to be on the verge of sinking into a murderous rage.


Ratchet winced; he should have offlined his audio the moment Sideswipe had entered the Medbay.

He tilted his head as he noticed the expression on the red twin’s face. Strange; usually, it was Sunstreaker who was the mad one, in all the sense of the word. Well, in a way, one could always wonder if Sideswipe was sane, which somehow the medic doubted, but that wasn’t the point here.

Speaking of the yellow Lamborghini, where was he? He hardly left his brother’s side when they were off duty. Had he managed to get into trouble alone? Doubtful; Sideswipe was the resident prankster. Sunstreaker was just the usual tag-along who was somehow delighted to help if Tracks was on the receiving end...

The red mech looked at him with anger. Ratchet just pulled a wrench out of subspace, hoping he wouldn’t have to use it; he disliked breaking his tools.

“Ratchet! Get that oversized thieving mapgie off my brother!”

Ratchet blinked. Magpie? What was he talking about?

“Care to explain what this is about?”

What was a Magpie again? He knew the name; he was sure Hound had even given him files about the local fauna. Where in his databanks were they again?

Grumbling, the medic began searching through the datas he had collected – or rather, datas others had made him collect – for the right files.

Finally, he found it. So, a magpie...

'Magpie:' name of several species of birds in the crow family, belonging to the Holarctic radiation of "monochrome" corvids.

Ah, a bird. Since Sideswipe was talking about a flying animal, then he must have a grudge against one the flyers. Well, at least, Ratchet could remove a good number of names from the ‘suspect’ list.

'Like other corvids, such as crows, the Magpie's usual gait is a walk, but when attracted by food or any special object it hops quickly sideways with wings just open. The fondness of all its family for bright objects is well known.'

Pause. Rewind.

Fondness for bright objects...

Sunstreaker was absent. And Sunstreaker was bright yellow. Oh, he could definitely see the pattern...

And Sideswipe had said ‘oversized’...

The Aerialbots were too small to be considered ‘oversized’ next to the Twins. Same thing for Powerglide. Skyfire wasn’t around, and even if he was, he wouldn’t have any reason to seize Sunstreaker, as he had never been on the receiving end of the yellow twin’s anger or bad temper. Which only left...

Ratchet grinned.

“Swoop?” he asked quietly.

“Oh yeah, Swoop. Swoop who collected my brother as if he were a thing and flew with him, in alt mode, to the top of the mountain where I can't reach them; my jet pack is in for repairs,” said Sideswipe with a glare.

Ratchet shook his head, refraining from laughting. The situation wasn’t that funny. After all, Sunstreaker had been abducted... by someone who probably didn’t even know the meaning of the word and was probably just curious or something. Swoop had a tendency to collect various things at time to examine them, the shinier the better. It was the first time he ‘collected’ a mech, though. Personally, Ratchet didn’t think it was overly worrisome; Swoop always gave back his catches to whoever they happened to belong. The red Twin would get Sunstreaker back soon enough, he was sure.

However, Sideswipe wasn’t a big fan of the Dinobots to begin with, he was very possessive with his Twin at time, and he certainly wasn’t going to let such a childish mech as Swoop take his brother away from him. The mech just didn’t know how or when to share. And Swoop, as well as his brothers, just didn’t know when to listen and stop what they were doing...

Ah, Pit...

It was a war waiting to happen.

Ratchet wasn’t scared for Swoop, far from it -- the Dinobot was strong enough to defeat Sideswipe with a single well placed punch -- but he didn't fancy the idea of repairing the Twins because of a feud with the Dinobots over something so trivial...

Oh, he knew he was going to use The Wrench in no time...

But for now, it was better to keep the Lamborghini talking.

“What’s your problem exactly? Sunstreaker is a big mech, he can take care of himself. Or at least I think he can,” he added, “but the way both of you keep showing me the opposite each time we battle the Decepticons... You and that infernal 'Jet Judo...”

“Jet Judo isn’t the problem here, Ratchet! Swoop’s the problem! Swoop and his attitude with Sunstreaker!” wailed Sideswipe.

Ratchet’s interest went up.

“Attitude? What is he doing exactly?”

“He’s nuzzling him, Ratchet! He’s nuzzling and kissing and glomping him as if Sunstreaker belonged to him!” Sideswipe sounded almost desesperate, and Ratchet had to fight a smile. Serve him right.

Hmm, either Swoop had a crush, or it was high time for Wheeljack to give him a doll to play with. Sunstreaker happily nuzzled by a Dinobot... Perhaps Red Alert had caught something on tape? He hoped so.

“And he belongs to you, perhaps?” he asked sarcasticaly.

“No,” sulked the red twin, “but Sunny’s too pretty and perfect for that stupid Dinobot...”

Ratchet gripped his wrench with more force and grabbed an arcwelder. He wasn’t going to kill him, he wasn’t koing tokill him, perhaps he would maim him, but not kill.

“Sideswipe,” began the medic sweetly, far too sweetly for comfort, “do you remember exactly who you’re talking to?”

Suddenly, the red twin seemed to remember that Ratchet and Wheeljack had created the Dinobots and as such, both were very protective of the five mechs; even if none of them really needed protection from anyone.

It was usually the other way around.

Sideswipe looked at the tools Ratchet still had in hand. He knew he was stronger than the medic, and faster too. Nonetheless, Ratchet with tools in hand was a very dangerous combination, and a force to be reckoned with...

“Ok, he isn’t that stupid...” mumbled Sideswipe.

Ratchet nodded.

“But I tell you, if that metalic turkey tries to molest my brother, I’m going to kill him!” the red mech added.

“Turkey? I thought he was a magpie?” asked Ratchet with an ill-conceled amusement.

“Same thing for me!” answered the angered mech.

“Actually, they are very different...” began the medic.

“I don’t care! He’s dead either way!”

Ratchet carefully kept a neutral face, although he really wanted to tell the murderous twin that the Dinobots would probably kill him if he even tried to look at Swoop the wrong way.

And if they failed, Ratchet would be more than ready and willing to finish the job. If Wheeljack didn't beat him to it, of course. The engineer could be meaner than him when he put his mind to it.

But for now, he was perfectly happy to just ‘torture’ the red mech. For once he could, he was not going to stop.

“Say, if Swoop is nuzzling him, do you think he will want to inferface with Sunstreaker later on?” he asked not so innocently.

Ratchet knew he wouldn't. Swoop just didn't know what an 'interface' was and, hopefully, he wouldn't learn before... well, never would be preferable, but he knew such a thing would eventually happen. Hopefully not before Ratchet was long dead and smelted down, but it would happen. Right now, however? The Dinobots were all clueless. The medic just enjoyed mentally scarring one of the banes of his existence too much to care about the rest right now.

Sideswipe’s face began to distort in horror as he began to imagine Swoop on top of his brother, his twin, who was so much smaller and would not be able to defend himself against the Dinobot if he wanted to force him to...

The fact Swoop was a young and innocent mech who wouldn’t hurt a fly – except if the aforementionned fly was harboring the Decepticons colours – never crossed his CPU.

He was on the warpath even before he even finished processing the information.

“Over my dead body!” he screamed with rage, turning on his heels to leave.

“With the Dinobots, that will be easy enough,” said quietly Ratchet, trying to not laugh out loud.

Sideswipe didn’t listen; he marched toward the doors, leaving behind the normaly scary medic bent over a berth as he laughed madly. Neither noticed Mirage and Hound who were standing next to the Medbay’s doors, trying to not laught at the warrior’s ‘problem’.

Hound looked at his friend with a friendly smile. “Should we tell him Sunstreaker don’t seem to mind being held like that as long as Swoop doesn’t scratch his paint?”

Mirage dismissed the thought immediately with a smile. “No; it would break him. And it will be much better when he realizes it himself...”