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In the most Favorable Light

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It was just their luck, of course. It always went like this: they got out of one problem just to get into a bigger one. Seeking shelter from that lightning storm had been the right call, Skyfire wasn't going to argue that. They couldn't have known that the entrance of the cave would collapse.

Still, it didn't change the fact that they were now trapped. Skyfire aimed his lights at the pile of rocks and debris in front of him and inspected it, not daring to touch it yet. It looked unstable.

“All right,” he said after a few moments. “we can move this. But it’s going to take a while, we need to do it slowly.”

“This is why we need blasters,” Starscream huffed. They hadn’t been here long and he was already pacing.

“No, because then the whole thing would just cave in further. This needs delicate work.”

“You mean hands my size.”

“... well, yes. That too.” Skyfire looked at him with his most radiant smile, the one that usually managed to cut through his grumpiness. “You do the detailed work, and I’ll hold the rest to stop it from falling apart on us.”

Starscream looked like he wanted to complain, but instead he just grumbled a little and approached the entrance. It was, after all, the only working solution they had. He might have been impatient, but he wasn't that dumb. He looked closely at the spot Skyfire was pointing at.

“Okay, that looks like a safe place to--” He was interrupted by the deep, rumbling sound of thunder. The whole cave seemed to shake with it. “Uh. Maybe later. I don’t feel like getting struck by lightning.”

“At least now we’re sure we can get out,” Skyfire said, ever the optimist. “We can relax until the storm passes. It seems like it's still going to be a while.”

“Relax? Seriously?” Starscream turned to look at him with a smirk he knew perfectly well. “I can think of a few things we can do instead of sitting and waiting.”

“Of course. We do have work to catch up with.” He let Starscream pout for a moment, but then he couldn’t hold back his laughter. “I’m joking, I’m joking.”

“Well, you never know. You are that much of a nerd.”

“Aw, you flatter me.”

He leaned down for a kiss. Starscream didn’t even wait to be held, and instead practically climbed on top of him, impatient to get to get the good part. That was what made it so weird when he pulled away after just a moment.

“Turn off the lights,” he said, and that was even stranger.

“What? Since when does that--?”

“Just do it,” Starscream insisted, and pointed at something behind Skyfire.

Now he was curious. He did turn the lights off, if only to see what the fuss was all about. At first, there was nothing but complete darkness. Then the walls of the cave started to glow. As soon as his optic sensors readjusted, he realized it wasn’t the rock itself, but something on it. Green and blue patterns started to become more obvious.

“It's beautiful! Phosphorescence…?”

“Or bioluminescence, more likely,” said Starscream. By now he had already let go completely and moved near one of the walls. “The patterns kind of look like mycelial networks. It could be a fungus. Hey, do you have the sample kit around?”

“Of course, give me a moment.”

Fortunately, the glow gave them enough visibility that Skyfire didn’t need to turn on the lights and ruin the effect. He rummaged among his tools until he found the sets they needed. He turned towards Starscream again, and got a little distracted.

It wasn’t just the light. It helped, of course. He was so close to the walls that the bluish light reflected on his face and hands as he stared at the intricate patterns. But that was nothing compared to his expression. There really was nothing quite as great, Skyfire thought, as getting to see Starscream in genuine concentration, not least because almost no one did. He was quite aware of just how lucky he was to witness these moments when he let his guard down for real. They were few and far between.

Starscream must have finally noticed him staring, because he stopped facing the glowing walls for long enough to turn and look at him.

“What?” he asked.

“Nerd,” Skyfire said fondly. He handed him one of the tool kits as a sort of peace offering at the same time. It was proof of Starscream’s current good mood that he didn’t even huff a little at that.

“Yeah, well, you’re one to talk.” He started taking samples from several different spots. “Don’t just stand there, go work on the other walls. You can stare at my gorgeous looks when we’re done.”

“You say that like I don’t have better plans for then.”

He did, however, get himself a similar sample kit and start working on his end. Getting the job done as quickly as possible was indeed a good idea. They’d probably also need to open the cave’s entrance as soon as the storm ended, just to avoid any further surprises.

And after that, well - they had plenty of free time and quite literally the entire planet to themselves. He was sure they’d make the best of it.