It was an interesting city when the Chief of Police and the Head of the Mafia shared the same dirty secret.
"You would not believe him, Mother. I completed my pilot's license with flying colors, top of the class and qualifying for military vehicles even! And he doesn't even blink. It's my 4.2 GPA all over again."
"I don't know what it's going to take to get him to realize my potential. I'm bursting at the seams waiting for some sort of real responsibility, and he refuses to give me anything."
Nightbird crossed her legs under the table in the guest area of the prison. A large open room full of tables and chairs bolted to the floor, that allowed the prisoners to speak with guests without that absurd piece of glass and telephone. Not that Nightbird did much talking.
Once upon a time, they had given her a pen to write down her answers, but she attempted to kill a guard with it when he made a crude remark. She hadn't been allowed another writing utensil after that. So on the rare occasion she had a visitor, Nightbird listened.
Nine out of ten times, that visitor was Starscream.
Nightbird sighed as he rambled about his desperate attempts to win love from a father who would never accept him. He sat across from her, hurt and aching and desperate for recognition. She wasn't particularly fond of her own flesh and blood either, but she pitied him too much to let him know his last hope despised him as well. Starscream was brilliant, talented, but unloved by the one person he craved attention. And the poor, wretched thing would never know why he was denied, or just what secret he was at the center of.
A secret known to three people: Herself, Optimus Prime, and Megatron. It was a secret that Nightbird kept not because she was mute, but because she knew the consequences of it getting into the open.
She was safer in jail, on the off chance that Megatron or Optimus' tongue loosened.
If not Megatron for ruining both his own reputation and that of Optimus Prime's, but Elita-One would surely rip her apart should their secret be revealed.
But that's what happened when you had an affair with the Chief of Police.
Nightbird smiled, ignoring her son. Optimus Prime, the most decorated officer in the force they'd ever had. Noble, upright, and as open to temptation as any other man. The affair surprised them both, but it had happened, and a son came out of it. She didn't tell Optimus the child was his when Starscream was born, and Megatron was showing him off to the stockholders and press papers. But he knew.
Megatron did as well.
It wasn't hard to figure out a child wasn't yours when you hadn't touched your wife in a year.
Nightbird never did figure out why Megatron hadn't killed the child, or her, when he put two and two together of who the father was. That was even more baffling than why Optimus Prime had let it stay silent. Perhaps they confronted each other and came to some arrangement. If they had, neither found it necessary to include Nightbird in the conversation. They'd always had an odd relationship with each other, that way.
"And do you know what he did last week? He fired half of the work force in his main factory. It's insanity, Mother!"
On some level, perhaps Megatron did have some attachment to his 'Son.' Before Nightbird's incarceration, she'd caught him looking at the boy with something more along the lines of consideration than hatred every once in a while. Legally the boy was his, so that might have been all he needed. Or in some twisted way, maybe he just enjoyed having control of Prime's first born.
Nightbird laced her fingers together on the table. Speaking of Prime, since Starscream's birth, she'd had four visits from the officer. The first was to confirm the boy was his, and the remaining three visits were to give her photographs of Starscream. The boy's performance in an elementary school play, Starscream receiving an award at the middle school science fair, and his high school graduation respectively, since Starscream wasn't old enough to visit his mother in jail on his own.
Megatron had yet to visit.
Not because he was angry about the affair, oh no, but because Nightbird had gotten caught. He had married her specifically because she impressed him. Intelligent, deadly, and left no trace. However, she was human and even she wouldn't have predicted little toddler Starscream walking into a room full of people-Including the Chief of Police and three of his highest ranking officers-with damning evidence of a crime she had set aside to be properly disposed of. It was an embarrassment, and just because he had been sleeping with her, didn't mean Optimus Prime was going to let it slide. She had been arrested that very night, and found guilty in trial a month later.
"Are you listening, Mother?" Starscream asked.
Nightbird nodded, though didn't smile. She waved her finger for him to continue, and she almost felt sorry for him when the relieved look fell over his face. He still felt guilty for getting her arrested, and he didn't even remember doing it. It was a shame, though it did explain his repeated visits.
"Oh, but yes, where was I? Last week we were in downtown and all he wanted to do was bother Optimus Prime down at the police station. It was absurd..."
Nightbird put her thoughts behind her and began to listen with more earnest ears. Paying attention to the outside world would benefit her in the long run. She'd need it soon enough. Nightbird would be out in ten or so years with good behavior, and that wasn't long to prepare.
Not when you held a secret like this.