There had been news of Starscream after the war. He was a high-ranking officer for the Decepticons, and Skyfire would hear his name every once in a while. But Skyfire never really paid attention to news about the war, much less about Starscream. Call it ignorant, but it wasn't easy seeing face his ex's mugshot on every public enemy announcement shown throughout Cybertron. Skyfire was just extremely bitter, probably.
He had been really into Starscream when they were dating. It was one of those relationships that Skyfire had thought would last forever.
Then they were at war, and that was that.
They never properly broke up. Just a note left on an encrypted datapad that said, 'Goodbye. Destroy this datapad.'
Skyfire was never expecting to ever see Starscream again. At least, not in person.
Being a flight-capable mech was not ideal in Cybertron after the war broke out. Wings were now synonymous to being a Decepticon, and for good reason. Most fliers did join the opposition, or left the planet as a declaration of neutrality once the war started. Skyfire considered himself a neutral, but refused to leave Cybertron. It wasn't too bad; during the initial years of the war he was often confronted by passionate nationalists, but that didn't happen often anymore. The hostility was everpresent, though.
Travelling was easier, sometimes. Just leaving Cybertron for weeks on end; just because he could. It would have been nice to have some company but he didn't have any other flight-capable friends. And so solo travel it was. He had a star chart that he had been mapping out. Safe places, unaffected by the war. It was pleasant to visit these barely populated planets and satellites just to feel a sense of calm again.
Maybe that was selfish.
But selfish or not, that was how Skyfire lived his life. He was still too full of curiosity and wanderlust to ever really stop travelling out of Cybertron every so often, but he had considered settling down once the war was over. If it actually ended in his lifetime, he might make an attempt.
This particular journey was a treat. A friend who worked for the spacebridge center had allowed him access to one of the shorter range spacebridges. It was a chance Skyfire could not resist, and so he packed up enough energon for a few decacycles and was off on his way. To be even farther away from Cybertron, it was wonderful.
And it really was wonderful. There were unfamiliar, beautiful star clusters and celestial bodies that he would never have come upon without the aid of a space bridge. He had tried to map out a star chart for this particular route as well, only to realize that he had no idea where to even begin.
It had been a peaceful and calm flight overall, until something came up on his scanners.
He had been fitted with a scanner after the insistence of some of his friends as he travelled too far and for too long, for safety purposes. Not that he had ever come upon a Decepticon or stopped long enough to engage with anyone hostile, but there was a Cybertronian signal flashing on his scanner, and he was instantly wary. It could be a NAIL, or it could be a Decepticon. Either way, Skyfire did not want to take his chances. He had adjusted the course of his flight, and was flying away from the signal.
The signal started moving suddenly, fast, towards his direction. Too fast for Skyfire to even fathom.
Of course all this travelling was going to come right back and bite him in the aft. Skyfire readied an emergency ping to send off to Cybertron as soon as he found out whether the mech was hostile or otherwise, but it might just be too late for him. It might just be the—
A foreign jet came into view, a jet Skyfire had never seen before, and transformed before him.
This was always going to happen someday, wasn't it?
Starscream seemed just as surprised as he was, which was a relief, "Skyfire? What the frag are you doing out here?"
"Uh," Skyfire had the strong urge to bolt, but refused to give in to it, "Just flying, actually. I've been travelling...a lot."
"You're an Autobot spy, aren't you?"
Skyfire wished that he was, just a little. He put his arms up and shook his head, "I'm not. You can check for yourself if you need to. I'm not affiliated with any side of the war. Never was."
Starscream's optics narrowed, "Why are you so far from Cybertron?"
"Passed through a spacebridge."
It was apparent that Starscream was looking around for said spacebridge then, which was a little ridiculous. They were in the middle of nothing but space. Of course Starscream wouldn't have seen anything.
"Okay," Starscream said, crossing his arms, "It'd be fragged up if you signed up to be an Autobot spy, anyway. But it's not entirely impossible."
It couldn't get weirder than this. Being criticized by his war criminal ex-lover in the middle of nowhere, after stellar cycles of non-interaction. Perhaps Skyfire was hallucinating, "That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while. What are you doing here?"
Somehow Starscream seemed more amused than displeased, "Resting, actually. Thought you were someone I could take energon from."
Which honestly, was something that could still stand true if Starscream chose to rob him. But Starscream didn't say anything else, and wasn't jumping into action either. Skyfire should leave. Or he should talk about leaving, and be on his way. Would Starscream let him go?
"I do have energon, you know. Enough to spare. Do you want some?"
Skyfire was an idiot, as always.
Skyfire expected Starscream to take the energon and go, but he had asked Skyfire to follow him to where he had been resting prior. Which was, in hindsight, a stupid thing to do. Skyfire had no idea if there were other Decepticons waiting for him. It could have been a trap. It could have been something terrible.
But Skyfire followed, and they landed on a satellite about 50 kliks away. It was uninhabited. A relief of sorts. They had sat down and Skyfire had handed Starscream an energon cube. He was mentally calculating his rations and how many days he could survive in space with his leftovers if he gave Starscream enough to last the Seeker a while, when Starscream spoke up.
"Hey. I really don't need more."
They were sitting on the dusty plains of the satellite, and Starscream had folded his legs underneath his frame, "I can hear you thinking about giving me energon. I don't need it."
Skyfire raised an optic ridge, both at the fact that Starscream could still read him too well, and the statement of not needing sustenance, "You need some, at least. Like I said, I have enough to spare. At least for a few solar cycles, Starscream."
"I don't need it," Starscream reiterated, "I was wondering if I needed fuel, honestly, but now that I've drank some," Starscream lifted his cube, looking a little pensive, "I don't feel any different. My fuel reserves increased but I don't think I've been using it at all."
That didn't make a lick of sense, "What do you mean?"
Starscream looked at him, and exhaled just a little. He set his cube down, and spoke quietly, almost, "I'm not really alive, I suppose. I'm not using fuel up anymore because my frame isn't processing it."
"Are you pulling my leg?"
"You're the first mech I've told, you know. Here, I'll show you," His cockpit shifted, and Skyfire could see his spark chamber. He had seen it before. They've merged a few times; it was also too intimate for their liking and the overloads were too intense but. He knew what Starscream's spark looked like.
He didn't have a spark, right now. The chamber was empty, not even a trace of light in it, and by all means, Starscream should be...He really wasn't alive. Skyfire couldn't stop staring.
"Star. That's impossible."
Starscream’s smile was sharper than Skyfire remembered. Something was not quite right with his optics. It was still undeniably Starscream, the mech he had fantasized being bonded to.
"I'm an enigma, I suppose. Freak of nature,” He traced the opening of his spark chamber, and gave a little shrug, "I'm immortal."
The connotations of that was terrifying, "How do you know?"
Starscream laughed, "Been offline a bunch. Came back every time."
"You know we're at war, don't you?"
"Yeah," Skyfire said, and meant it. He was too aware, "Yeah."
Starscream went silent. A thoughtful sort of silence. He looked worse for wear. War probably did that to him, too.
"Immortality. That's something. It doesn't renew your plating's finish?"
It took a while for Starscream to get it, before his wings snapped up in offense, "Rude."
Familiar. It was too familiar.
"But not untrue. I have—I've got polish on me, too. Do..." his words trail off as fast as the thought had occurred to him.
Starscream was surprised, too. His expression betrayed him. But he recovered almost immediately, and sneered, looking Skyfire up and down, "What? You want to polish me up?"
It was clearly sarcastic. His tone was disbelieving.
Skyfire did not want to leave yet. He wanted...He didn't know. His ex, who was technically dead. It was an extremely odd feeling. He really had not seen Starscream in a long time,"Yeah. I have time."
"Oh, Skyfire," Starscream sighed, his tone the softest Skyfire had heard yet, "You don't even know."
"What don't I know?"
"Nothing. Come on. Polish me."
They have done this a few times, back then. Not too often; they had led busy lives. Some of that business was apparently Starscream getting too involved with the opposition. But...they've done this before.
It was both something familiar and something fresh. There were some key differences.
Starscream had talons now. His arms and legs were gun-heavy, of course. Installed weaponry. There were a lot of deep set scratches in his plating. Nothing Skyfire could truly buff out, not for lack of trying. Starscream was cold. Unnaturally so, and it was hard to forget that he was technically dead, right now. Dead, even as he complained about whatever the pit had happened to him on Earth.
"Apparently they're all manifestations of my personality, and have you even heard of a wilder concept? What part of me could be translated into a femme seeker?"
It was amusing, to say the least.
It almost sounded unbelievable, but this whole cycle was too bizarre as it was, "What is she like?"
"Sassy. Has a specific attitude. She's the most competent out of the whole lot, however. Too competent, sometimes."
Skyfire rubbed circles over Starscream's calf, humming slightly.
"That's it, then. Your competence? I guess that would make sense."
Starscream scoffed, thruster shifting in Skyfire's servo, "Perhaps. They're frustrating. I don't trust any of them."
Sounds like an entirely Starscream trait, but Skyfire didn’t say anything. He did have a thruster aimed right at the center of his chassis.
"Tell me about Cybertron. Are you still living in that apartment in Iacon?"
"I am," he was oddly pleased that Starscream remembered, "Cybertron's kind of a mess. It's war. Everything's gone dreary, in a way."
They both went silent. They never really talked about the war, before. Skyfire briefly remembered how Starscream tried to engage in political discussion with him. Skyfire remembered adamantly refusing to.
He had known, back then. Something wasn't right with Starscream and Skyfire did not want to address it. He had hoped that it would pass, whatever it was. Maybe that was a mistake. Maybe...
"It's unfortunate. Does that old machine still live below your place?"
It took him a while before Skyfire recalled who it was, "Oh. Firetrack. Of course he is, that mech would never move out."
Starscream laughed, a genuine smile curved his lip plates, "Primus, Firetrack. He hated the frag out of me."
"I mean. We got loud, sometimes."
He had let Starscream's leg go, moving closer to polish his torso. Starscream leaned back to give him access.
"We did. He's a grouchy fragger, but we really were...loud. Sometimes," Starscream's smirks, "Good times."
The subject was suggestive, of course. Skyfire felt his plating heat up, but that was only natural. They had been very intimate with each other.
They were days when Skyfire and Starscream would reunite after days of being apart and the interfacing as always intense. Explosive.
Firetrack would complain because of the repetitive, loud clanging, and the screaming, sometimes. They got a little crazy. And after, Starscream would be the sweetest thing in the entirety of Cybertron.
That was so long ago. But at the same time...
"He was so happy, when you left," Skyfire said wistfully, "Was kind of an afthole about it."
Firetrack was, at first. Then he realized how distraught Skyfire was about Starscream leaving so suddenly, and tried his best to make Skyfire feel better. Via Seeker shit-talking and energon, which Skyfire wasn't happy about, but Firetrack meant well. He had been sparkbroken.
"Did you think of me at all? Or were we just...a good time?"
He was still polishing away; clinical about it now. Starscream put a hand on Skyfire's arm, stopping him.
"Does it still matter?"
Skyfire looked up at him, and couldn't really decipher the expression on his face, "It matters to me."
Starscream exhaled, but didn't move his hand, "I thought of you. You were clearly uninterested in the war. And I wanted to fight. I believe in the Decepticon cause. I didn't want to involve you in it. I was already neck deep in the rebellion. I had to leave."
It made sense. Skyfire hated it, and probably would never be at peace with it; but it made sense.
"You're still full of it, Starscream."
Starscream bristled, but did not say anything in his defense.
Skyfire moved his hand again, tracing the edge of Starscream's cockpit. The touch was deliberate; because despite all these stellar cycles, he was still...
"I'm dead, you know,” Starscream murmured, "You realize that?"
He was offline. His frame was cold.
The cockpit under his touch tessellated, and Starscream bared his spark chamber again; drilling his point home.
Skyfire didn't take his hand away, "You're talking. You're here, right now. Is this unwelcome?"
"Skyfire," Starscream sounded amused now, "Really? Do you miss me that much?"
The shuttle moved to take his hand away, but Starscream stopped him. Placed his own servo over Skyfire's, and pressed it to his frame.
"I'm offline. Do you realize this?"
Skyfire did. He did. It was hard to forget, with Starscream's exposed, empty spark chamber on display.
Starscream's smile was too sharp, "I wonder what this says about you."
"That I'm a fragging idiot, probably."
"It's why I'm so fond of you." Starscream arched again, but in an entirely different way this time, "Come on. Mess my polish up."
It was not even hard to lean in and kiss Starscream. It felt almost natural. Skyfire had missed this so intensely, it made his spark stutter.
Starscream kissed him back like he was hungry. Too intense, too much. His spark chamber was still open.
"Starscream" Skyfire whined, trying to coax the Seeker into closing the empty chamber.
Starscream swatted his servo away, voice low due to their contact, but too sharp still. His tone was mean. "No. I want you to see. I want you to remember."
He tried to ask why but the sound of Starscream's panels retracting made his thoughts flit away. Starscream's spike was pressing against his side, and Starscream spread his legs wide, an invitation Skyfire immediately took.
He retracted his own panels and Starscream's groan was loud, just like how it used to be.
"Frag, Sky. You really don't care, do you?"
He couldn't even fathom what that meant. All he could think of was the talons clawing at his back struts, and Starscream, Starscream, Starscream.
"If you," Starscream's voice hitched at the bump of Skyfire's spike against his valve, "If you found my offline frame floating in space, would you do this too? Would you frag my dead body?"
The thought was horrible; Skyfire flinched bodily; but Starscream's valve was tight and Starscream's legs have got him locked in.
"Primus, what the frag are you saying?"
Starscream laughed; he had never sounded more unhinged than right now; and undulated his hips. Skyfire can't help but fuck into the motion, sliding deeper into Starscream. It was cold, and if—Starscream wasn't holding him right back, then it'd just be—Skyfire was—
"I love the thought of that," Starscream confessed in a whisper, hips lifting to meet Skyfire's thrusts, "Even after everything, Skyfire. You're still..."
Starscream unwound an arm around Skyfire to press his own fingers inside his spark chamber, rubbing at the connectors there, "I've died so many fragging times. It's intense. Sky—ah—you could frag me to death. And frag me till I come back to life. After all these cycles, you're still—"
Skyfire was horrified. Appalled. But not even the slightest bit—repulsed—
"You're insane." He whispered, a revelation, and Starscream moaned so loudly that it scrambled Skyfire's processor.
He was furiously rubbing his spark chamber, as furiously as Skyfire was pounding into him. This was the sort of fucking that they would always get into trouble for. It was the same, but also decidedly not.
Starscream's optics flash and he uncrossed his legs.
"Come on my spark," he gasped, optics wild and blazing, "Sky, please. Come in my chamber. I want it, I want it—"
It was too much. Too intense. It always was, but now— it was—
Skyfire pulled out and Starscream's moan of satisfaction was enough for him to overload, right where Starscream wanted it. On his empty spark chamber. Empty save for what Skyfire just put there.
"Primus," he said, because what else was there to say. What else was there to say?
Starscream had one hand on his spike, and the other in his spark chamber. Jerked at himself while pressing Skyfire's transfluid into the black gunmetal of his chamber and Skyfire just. He could just watch.
Starscream was still so mesmerizing in overload.
He moaned as he came down from it, and Skyfire had to kiss him. Tasted his own pleasure on Starscream's lips. Lifted his hand to smear his come into Starscream's spark chamber even more.
Maybe he was going a little insane, too.
"When I've won," Starscream said in between languid kisses, voice drunk with overload, "You should be by my side. And I'd let you do anything you want to me. I'll let you do everything."
The promise didn't feel real. This encounter didn't feel real. But Skyfire nodded and kissed him quiet anyway.