Disclaimer: Hasbro still refuses to give them up.
Summary: You don't know what you have until its gone. Its a hard lesson to learn, and a painful one
( Starscream has a domestic sideCollapse )
Soundwave came online slowly. He kept completely still, making sure not to give away that he was aware. He didn't know where he was. He hurt, but it a distant pain. He was likely on some kind of heavy duty pain killer. The sapphire mech knew he wasn't on the Nemesis; skilled though the Constructicons were, they didn't have the resources to deal with injuries as extensive as his.
It hurt, seeing how far his former master had fallen. Once, he had been a beacon of justice, of freedom from the oppression of the council. He had radiated charisma and compassion. Now, he was a twisted shell of who he used to be. Now, the tyrant only cared about the destruction of his enemies. He was so focused on getting revenge that he hadn't even realized his third-in-command was in his line of fire. He could have killed Soundwave, or, more importantly, his creations. The communications officer thanked whatever deity had been watching over him; he didn't want to image life without his precious mechlings.
So, he was with the Autobots. Panic took hold of him briefly. Where were his cassettes? Were they ok? Soundwave reached for his link to his creations, calming some when they pulsed back with excitement/happiness/love. Wherever they were, they were being taken care of. Relieved, the tape deck turned his attention to himself.
Running a quick scan he determined that he was operating at eighty-two percent efficiency. He was fully fueled, and the extensive damage had been repaired. What were left were issues his self repair had to handle. There were no signs that he had been hacked, but that meant little. Their Special Operations mechs were very good.
"You can quit pretending now," a gruff voice startled him. Knowing that he was caught, Soundwave onlined his optics to find the Autobot medic standing over him. "Welcome back. Hold still, I need to run some scans." Soundwave lay on the berth passively. Even if he wanted to struggle, he wasn't strong enough. Now that he was fully aware he could feel the pain increasing. Ratchet finished his scans, and told him to open a medical port.
"I'm going to give you another dose of painkiller. It will keep the pain down to manageable levels, but any more will sedate you. I can do that if you wish, but I don't think you want that."
"Negative," Soundwave's voice was raspy. "Fact: I can deal with pain." Ratchet nodded.
"I thought so. You're cassettes are on their way. They knew you were awake before I did and pestered their caretaker into letting them visit you. They are currently under the protection of asylum. You will have to decide what you want to do about your own status once you are well enough to discuss it with the officers. For now, you are being assigned to the same caretaker as your creations. You are to take the painkiller, preferably with energon, every half orn. You are to refuel every joor and get at least twelve hours sleep every day local time," the medic explained as he uploaded the dose. "Do you understand?"
"Good. You're visitors are here." Six rambunctious younglings tumbled into the medbay. Ratchet grumbled at them good naturedly before retreating to his office. The former Decepticons barely paid him any attention.
"Soundwave! You're awake!" Rabat chirped happily, diving for his creator. Soundwave braced himself. Having a youngling slam into you at high velocity was never comfortable, even uninjured but he would endure it for the sake of his creation. However, light blue arms caught the cassette around the waist and pulled him back into a cockpit.
"Careful, Ratbat," Starscream chided, "Soundwave is awake, but he has not fully healed. I know you are excited, but don't do anything to aggravate his injuries." Ratbat pouted, but acquiesced. Starscream gently placed the small mech on the berth, and stepped back so the others could clamber up as well. Once they were all comfortably nuzzled into Soundwave, Ravage asked,
"Are you ok, Soundwave?" The larger mech knew he wasn't referring just to his physical wellbeing. Being shot – and nearly killed – by a mech he had trusted had taken a heavy toll on his psyche. Looking at the anxious faces of his creations, Soundwave sent out a telepathic nudge.
:I will be.: He would. It would just take time.
"Cassettes: are well?"
"Yep," Rumbled grinned, "Starscream's been looking after us. Even went to bat for us with the big boss bot. He's got a real cool set of living quarters; plenty of space for all of us," he said, giving Soundwave a look. Subtlety, thy name is not Rumble.
"Yeah!" Frenzy added, "He's got all these cool videogames, and sometimes Skywarp and Thundercracker will come by and play games with us. We beat their tailpipes every time! And Skywarp has this ongoing prank war with Sunny and Sides, and one time they caught Star in the middle of it. He got them back so bad! No one's figured out how he got them to stick to the rec room ceiling like that, but it was hilarious!"
The telepath could feel the amusement from all of his creations, and the relief that he was well enough to be awake and talking to them. They had missed him. The love his younglings had for him touched him deeply, and he was beyond grateful for the care the seeker had shown them while he was incapacitated. No Decepticon would have done that; they would have been left to fend for themselves. Soundwave let them talk, interested to hear about the things he had missed while they had been here on the Ark. Even his eagle twins seemed more relaxed. They were still quiet, but the tension that was usually present in them was missing. Eventually though, fatigue began to pull at his processor.
"Alright, younglings, Soundwave still needs recharge to recover. Do you think you can make it a short trip to my quarters? Or would you rather wait until you've recharged some more?" Soundwave looked at Starscream, surprised at the choice.
"Soundwave: would like to leave medbay now." Starscream nodded. His blue optics were strange to look at. They were so much more empathic than the burning red he'd had as a spy.
"Alright. Are you able to walk on your own?" His creations reluctantly left the berth. Soundwave pushed himself up, and swung his legs over the side. Cautiously, he tried to stand, but his legs were weak with disuse and he stumbled. Starscream was there immediately, wrapping an arm around his waist, wings tucked down so as not to hit the injured mech. Once Soundwave regained his balance, the seeker led him out of the medbay. The cassettes stuck close, chattering happily the whole way.
Soundwave hated feeling helpless. He rarely had to rely on other for aid. But Starscream said nothing to make him feel uncomfortable. He talked with Ravage about the shift he was to have with Blaster later in the day, and promised Frenzy that if he was good he could spend some time with Fireflight when the Aerial returned, provided it was ok with Soundwave. The former Decepticon was amazed at how well the Autobot handled his younglings. Even Soundwave could admit they could be trying at times. Starscream was a natural. On top of that, sapphire plating tingled with pleasure were it was pressed against the seeker. He was very, very conscious of that. Soundwave hoped to reach their destination before he did something to embarrass himself.
The walk, although it was made longer by their slow pace, thankfully didn't take too long, and Soundwave was ushered into the Air Commander's quarters. The cassettes' toys were strewn about the living area, and some kind of racing game was paused on the large view screen that dominated one wall.
"Lazerbeak, please fetch some energon for Soundwave. You need to have a cube before you recharge or Ratchet will have my head. Ravage, you should go now, or you'll be late. Rumble, Ratbat, pick up your toys before you resume your game. Yes, Frenzy, you can go now. Be back in time for dinner."
"Yes Starscream," a chorus of voices answered. Buzzsaw followed the larger mechs into the berthroom. He wanted to help get his creator settled, and maybe have a nap with him before dinner.
"You gave us all quite a scare, Soundwave," Starscream said quietly. "I am glad you see you awake. For a while we weren't sure you would make it." He helped the larger mech onto the berth.
"Query: how long was I unconscious?"
"Three orn. And your link to the cassettes was weak." Soundwave flinched internally. His poor creations must have been terrified.
"Observation: Starscream is a natural with younglings." The seeker smiled. It was a gorgeous smile, and Soundwave felt his fuel pump stall.
"I've always wanted sparklings, and I used to look after my neighbors' young ones in my home tower. And yours are sweet, no matter how hard they try not to be."
"Thank you." The words were sparkfelt and melodic. Starscream blinked but smiled again. He picked Buzzsaw up and placed him in Soundwave's arms."
"No need to thank me. I enjoyed taking care of them." A soft beep from the doorway announced Lazerbeak's return with the fuel. "Drink this and then recharge. I will wake you when it is time for dinner." Lazerbeak joined his twin and Soundwave on the berth. Starscream turned down the lights and left the room, casting a glance over his shoulder as his did. The twins were already halfway to recharge and Soundwave looked like he would join them soon. His spark gave a sharp pulse. He had everything he wanted so close, and yet it still seemed so far away. Well, never mind. He had a job to do. He was the Air Commander, and they were his guests. Soundwave would heal and they would move on. Now if only he could convince his stupid spark to let them go.