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The Cuckoo's Nest

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Starscream's predicament was a thing of great amusement to the vast majority of the Earth crew. Understandably; it wasn't every cycle one's commanding officer physically reverted into a sparkling.

Vortex had scooped him up on the field of battle in the retreat before Soundwave himself had had the chance- less the actions of a concerned comrade, and more for the purpose of parading him through the ranks and raising spirits when they returned to base. He hadn't actually seen Starscream yet, only heard the passing comments, jokes.

"-all that ego in such a tiny package-"

"Least now Megatron can finally get rid of him."

"Serves him right, if you ask me. Always did whine like a bratty sparkling."

Such an abnormal development was going to strain the faction's functionality. Operational requirements in the aftermath of the raid meant Soundwave forewent a return to his quarters to tend to his cassettes and instead joined Megatron in the command centre for a debrief. Unsurprisingly, there was a gathered crowd.

Thundercracker and Skywarp were present, but off to one side, looking bored and unconcerned despite their trine's situation. Perhaps they felt in need of a well deserved break, and Starscream's predicament offered the perfect excuse.

Soundwave judged them little. He worked with Starscream regularly and understood the effect he had on his comrades. He reduced productivity by an average of thirty percent. On a good day.

"Ah, Soundwave," Megatron rasped from up front. He was stood in front of the monitors, mechs gathered around him in a large circle, leaving the centre open. Soundwave reached the edge of the group and stared down at what had their attention.

Soundwave knew what both a sparkling and a 'Starscream' looked like, and so knew what to expect. Still, he found himself taken aback. The word 'endearing' should not have had a place in his vocabulary, yet it was all Soundwave could think when faced with such an astonishingly small individual.

The sparkling was still very obviously Starscream- if not recognisable from the bodywork, then the exaggerated scowl and petulantly folded arms.

"Starscream." He greeted.

The grumpy sparkling's helm snapped up at the sound of his designation. Cheeks were fat, puffed outwards with his pout, his optics far too large for his face. None of these features worked in favour of his scowl. The most accurate physical assessment of his current condition would be; adorable.

"Ah, so you can hear us?" Megatron stepped forwards, and from the level of irritation Soundwave detected in his tone he was able to determine that Megatron had been attempting an interrogation of his second in command for some time now- and despite Starscream's situation, it was going no better than it usually would.

Starscream blew a static raspberry in defiance. Megatron looked ready to explode.

"What're we gonna do with him then?" Astrotrain raised a servo and rubbed the back of his neck. "Should we just... put him out of his misery?"

Megatron didn't answer immediately, which was an indication of a poor decision to come.

It was true that a Decepticon that couldn't fight was a drain on resources, but Starscream no more deserved to be snuffed out than any other Decepticon that had fallen victim to an injury or ailment in the line of duty. Soundwave waited tensely for the verdict.

Finally Megatron shook his helm, "He is of no use to us here. Prepare a spacebridge. He will be returned to Cybertron."

Soundwave considered what was waiting for Starscream on Cybertron and felt that was no better a solution that simply abandoning him on this planet. Shockwave was hardly going to see the logic in caring for a notorious traitor turned helpless sparkling- regardless of Megatron's orders.

He stepped forwards.

Megatron's gaze rose to meet his. "You have something to say, Soundwave?"

"Affirmative." Soundwave pointed to the sparkling on the floor. "I will take the small Starscream."

Megatron's optical ridges disappeared into his helmet.

Suspicious looks were thrown his way from the gathered mechs. Soundwave could feel the weight of their judgment. He understood it was a thankless task. Had someone else had offered to take Starscream, he would have been equally suspicious of their intentions.

He himself wondered why he would bother.

"For what purpose?" Megatron questioned.

"Starscream's ailment; reversible." He said simply, and Megatron eased back and seemed to understand what he was saying. Starscream was a valuable piece in the war, and an effort should be made to restore him to that high standard.

Megatron huffed, waving a servo. It was as good as a yes.

The little Starscream was looking between them, doing his best impression of a thundercloud. Perhaps he knew he was the topic of discussion.

Looking curious, Megatron bent at the waist and peered down at him.

"Do you have any memory of who you are?" He asked.

Starscream's scowl somehow deepened. He stuck his glossa out with considerable attitude.

Knowing a lost cause when it was pulling faces at him, Megatron straightened again with a deeper sigh. "Take him."

Soundwave strode forwards and promptly picked him up. Starscream resisted for no sensical reason. If he indeed remembered his mechhood, he would know being carried was necessary. If he did not, he had no reason to distrust and resist him.

There were laughs. Starscream's helpless predicament and comedic appearance clearly amusing, despite the whines and squeaks he was vocalising commonly heard from sparklings in great distress. Soundwave sheltered him against his chest, letting his visored gaze stare down those too ignorant silence themselves.

"Enough," Megatron rasped, waving them on, annoyed more for the time wasting than he was the public humiliation of a sparkling. "Soundwave, I expect frequent updates on your progress."

"Acknowledged." He droned, jumping at the opportunity to dismiss himself. Starscream was twisting and turning against him, and he was finding it difficult to hold him securely without putting undue stress on delicate joints and armour, and even more importantly, wings.

For that purpose he moved swiftly and let little distract him. With any luck, he would find a more sympathetic audience in his quarters.

 


 

He did not.

"Where's he gonna recharge, Boss?" Frenzy asked, and Soundwave did not miss the edge of indignation in his cassette's tone.

His creations greatly lacked enthusiasm to the news of Starscream's presence among them. Soundwave struggled to understand why. Starscream could not be considered a threat in this form- nor was he taking resources they would have otherwise used.

His simple existence was an affront to them.

"Yeah, it's cramped enough in there without making room for him." Rumble joined in, pointing at his chest.

Soundwave considered the sparkling, sat miserable and silent on his berth, propped upright with a cushion.

"Objection unnecessary." He told them, "Starscream does not transform into a cassette."

Despite their obvious relief with such information, Soundwave felt a tinge of regret. Long dormant protocols urged him to tuck Starscream safely away inside his chest compartment.

He settled instead for picking him up, dismissing the leg kicking rejection it earned him. Starscream's pedes banged against the glass of his chest, something it's current residents were likely to complain about later.

"Desist." Soundwave suggested, and unable to link emotionally with Starscream as he was his cassettes, chose instead to rub his servo up and down his back to soothe him.

A resentful growl came from under the berth, where Ravage had taken refuge shortly after Soundwave had explained the air commander's predicament. Soundwave dismissed him, turning his back on his eldest cassette to better soothe Starscream.

"What's wrong with him?"

"Starscream; has numerous cause for distress." He mused.

Comforting his cassettes was second nature. Stresses were easily waved away with a brush of his spark to theirs. He could not reach Starscream. He could not soothe his frantic spark with his own.

"There, there." He said mechanically, not for the first time wishing his inflection was softer than droning monotone. "Starscream is safe."

The kicks subsided. A small victory. Soundwave continued to hold him, already resigned to the affection quickly growing for the sparkling -even if this wasn't his creation, even if it was Starscream.

He wondered how much of Starscream's Starscream-ness was a result of bad coding. The sparkling he held to his chest certainly resembled his adult-self in more than just appearance. The scowl was yet to fall from his face.

He heard a tiny tank rumble.

Starscream's servos fisted against his chest, optics sulkily looking down.

"Refuelling required?" Soundwave asked, consulting his subspace for a spare cube.

Predictably, he received no answer. A sparkling as young as Starscream wouldn't be programmed with speech, but should still be notoriously noisy. Squeaks and chirps where common place. His own cassettes had always found ways to let him know what they needed and how they felt.

He received no like minded reaction from Starscream.

Regardless, a small frame meant small tanks, and frequent refuelling was necessary. He placed Starscream back against his cushion and brought out a cube. Sparklings this age would need to refuel through a device that allowed them to drink without spilling. Having no such thing here, Soundwave improvised with a pink 'crazy straw'.

"Hey, that's mine!" Frenzy complained.

Soundwave dismissed his protest, taking the end of the straw and guiding it to Starscream's mouth. Starscream batted the straw away three times simply because he was Starscream. On the forth attempt he snatched the straw for himself, but squeezed it too hard, obstructing the flow of energon no matter how hard he sucked. He began to turn purple in the face.

Soundwave removed his digits gently and held it for him. Starscream drank eagerly, and the scowl began to drift from his face.

With optics larger than his tanks, Soundwave was forced to take the cube and 'crazy straw' away before Starscream overindulged and made himself unwell. He received a beep of protest, but it didn't dissolve into a screaming fit.

"Hey, Screamer," Rumble and Frenzy lined up along the berth and rested their chins on it's edge, watching him curiously. "How's it going?"

It was still beneath Starscream to speak with the cassettes, because he beeped and ignored them. Big optics instead followed Soundwave across the room when he went to shelve the cube for later.

"Woah, hey!"

Soundwave turned quickly at Frenzy's voice, spark leaping at the mild panic he heard. Starscream had rolled across the berth and was in the middle of an attempted transformation, stuck halfway through and jolting as he tried to restart, and restart.

"Desist." Soundwave ordered, placing his servos on the messy ball of armour, searching for the transformation cog. He wasn't familiar with Starscream's frame. He had not built it as he had his own cassettes.

A panicked squeak emerged from somewhere. Soundwave flipped him over, searching until finally his digit found the cog, stuck and stuttering against a piece of armour that had folded in the wrong direction. He rightened it, and Starscream's frame twisted and rolled back into a solid form.

A tiny, miniaturised jet. Upside down.

Rumble and Frenzy burst out laughing at the upright landing gear waving in the air like the limbs of a tortoise stuck on it's back. Soundwave found little amusement to it. He picked Starscream up, flipped him over, and placed him on the floor.

Starscream proceeded to shoot forward on his landing gear and drive himself, nosecone first, into the wall.

Rumble and Frenzy fell to the floor, in hysterics.

Soundwave came forwards yet again, reaching Starscream just as the sparkling folded back out of jet-form and into bipedal mode, blinking wide and confused like he had no idea what had happened. He hadn't burst into hysterical tears, but Soundwave felt the need to scoop him up regardless.

"This is- the best day!" Rumble laughed. He ducked his helm under the berth, calling to Ravage, "You gotta come see this, Rav!"

"Cease laughing." Soundwave told them, tempted to remind them of their own embarrassing sparklinghoods. Of how Rumble and Frenzy had once somehow tangled themselves together during unpracticed attempts at transforming, or how Ravage would attack his own tail as though it were his enemy.

"Getting pretty attached there, don't ya think?" Frenzy said critically.

Soundwave did not answer. As one of few mechs with experience in the faction, he was simply doing his duty in caring for a fellow Decepticon. In that sense, he was no different to the engineers in the medbay tending to damaged warriors.

He settled Starscream back on the berth with the cushions, pausing to fluff them up for him and support his wings.

Rumble and Frenzy shared a look behind his back. He ignored them.

 


 

He could neither leave Starscream unaccompanied in his quarters or place him securely inside his chest compartment with the other cassettes. He was left with no option but to carry him. This prompted no shortages of stares and snickers.

Starscream was mostly oblivious, almost constantly recharging or about to. He woke twice, once when Blitzwing had laughed too loudly at the sight of him, and again when Soundwave had accidentally jostled him when breaking Ramjet's groping servo.

"The pit was that for?!" Ramjet demanded, smile gone as he cradled the limp digits he been about to jab at the sparkling with.

Soundwave squared his shoulder's, gently swaying Starscream back to sleep as he stared Ramjet down. "Do not touch the little Starscream."

"C'mon Soundwave," Ramjet scoffed, "It's Screamer."

"Soundwave; will break more than your servo next time."

Starscream was back in recharge shortly, and remained that way for the duration of the shift thanks to the rapid decrease in parties approaching to disturb him.

As Soundwave worked at the monitor -Starscream nestled safely in the crook of his arm- he mused on how much easier it would be to devise some sort of hands-free carrier that allowed him to keep Starscream both in comfort and on his person as he worked.

Starscream stirred, servo flexing. Absently Soundwave ran a digit along his tiny palm, and Starscream's servo closed around it, gripping him. He felt a sense of peace wash over him, and despite the lack of spark-bonded connection between them, could swear he felt it in Starscream too.

 


 

Despite the initial dislike, Rumble and Frenzy quickly warmed to Starscream, finding amusement in his antics. Soundwave was glad for it, not only was Starscream socialising but he gave reason for Rumble and Frenzy to practice some gentility.

It was why he believed their reassurances that they could refuel him. Soundwave gave them the cube and the straw and established how much they were allowed to give Starscream, and (unwisely) turned his back.

He had no earthly idea how -and somehow neither did Rumble or Frenzy- but when next he looked, Starscream was covered from helm to thruster in energon.

"Explain." He stared at the twins.

"He spilled." Frenzy said simply.

Soundwave looked at Starscream, who blinked back at him, arms aloft and sticky. He looked as surprised as everyone else.

He pulled out a cloth and directed his cassettes to mop up the worst of it, bending to collect the empty cube. From where he was lounging atop the berth, Ravage dropped down to the floor. He sniffed at the energon puddle, then Starscream, before licking the side of his helm.

Starscream chirped in protest, waving sticky arms. Ravage licked those instead.

"Assistance; unnecessary." Soundwave told him.

Ravage ignored him, turning his helm and licking up one of Starscream's pudgy cheeks. Soundwave moved to push him away, when instead of a protest, a smile split Starscream's face. Ravage continued to groom him as the sparkling dissolved into delighted tweets. Soundwave felt his spark drip with emotion.

Rumble and Frenzy must have felt his affection across their bond, because they shared a look, hiding their smirks as they bent to clean up the energon.

"Desist." Soundwave shook himself out of his stupid and steered Ravage away. Starscream's sticky servos made a grab for Ravage's long swishing tail. Soundwave lifted him out of reach swiftly. "The mess will be dealt with before my return."

"You got it, Boss," Frenzy mumbled, then nudged at Ravage. "You gonna help?"

Ravage, who had had no qualms over licking Starscream clean, wasn't going to do the same with the floor. He hissed, jumping back onto the berth and ignoring them.

Soundwave left them to work it out among themselves.

 


 

He placed the soaked sparkling on top of a storage cabinet seeing as there was no where else for him to go. Starscream could not be left to air dry. His frame was too small to moderate it's own temperature effectively and he would feel the cold.

Not to mention he wasn't going to add insult to Starscream's battered dignity by carrying him around covered in watermarks.

Digging round inside the cabinet he found a clean cloth and set to work drying him. Starscream's over complicated frame type made it more difficult, particularly when Soundwave reached his thrusters and attempted to clean inside them. Starscream jumped and released a chastising stream of chirps, trying to kick himself away.

"Apologies." Soundwave intoned, and left them be.

Halfway through the drying, Starscream's boredom became evident. He attempted twice to roll onto his front, and when Soundwave simply turned him back over, his scowl reappeared with renewed purpose.

He began to transform.

"Desist misbehaviour." Soundwave ordered, wrapping a servo around his tiny middle to prevent limbs from disappearing into an alt-form. "Maintenance incomplete."

Starscream whined, looking utterly despairing.

"Maintenance is almost complete." Soundwave reassured him, gentling his touch in an effort to soothe him. "Starscream; impatient and emotional."

He enjoyed pointing out so without the usual repercussion that came with it. Adult Starscream would have yelled, might have shot at him. The sparkling whose cockpit he was patting dry simply proved his words, emitting an angry beep and trying to escape.

Soundwave had raised mischievous sparklings before though. Starscream's antics paled in comparison.

 


 

Starscream was far less of a disturbance during the war councils now than he had been as a mech. Soundwave sat some seats down from Megatron rather than at his side to make his company less of a distraction.

Starscream was awake- a miscalculation on his part. Morning nap-time had been interrupted by Frenzy's argument with Laserbeak. Soundwave had allowed Starscream to recharge through the afternoon because if it. And now, evening, when Starscream should have already fallen asleep for the night, he was wide awake.

Sat on Soundwave's lap he was just tall enough to peak over the top of the table. Soundwave kept him occupied with some chirolinguistics, speaking to him through their hands. Starscream was unlikely to understand his meaning, but was clumsily copying the touches. It was better than allowing him to climb atop the table and make a scene.

Every few moments Starscream grew overexcited and let out a squeaky chirp. Megatron didn't let it throw the rhythm of his speaking, but a few mechs looked his way.

Soundwave settled his spare servo over Starscream helm, visor turning on those who stared too long.

Across the table, Vortex was oblivious to his warning glares, staring at the top of Starscream's helm until the sparkling finally noticed, peering over the edge of the table.

Vortex pulled a face.

Starscream blew an raspberry, angry and drawn out. Soundwave continued to glare at the smirking Vortex as he drew Starscream away from the table and closer to his chest.

"Soundwave." Megatron's voice drifted down the table reproachfully.

"My apologies, Lord Megatron." He dipped his chin, grip subconsciously tightening on the sparkling. "It will not happen again."

"See that it doesn't." Megatron turned back to his presented plan.

Soundwave only didn't kick Vortex under the table for the sake of protecting Starscream from further attention.

 


 

Buzzsaw and Laserbeak were more than capable of supporting Starscream's weight between them in the air, but despite Soundwave's trust in them, his anxiety levels soared far too high at the sight of them balancing the sparkling between them as they flew about the base.

Calling them down and reproaching them led to two sulking cassettes and one angrily sobbing sparkling. Soundwave understood that Starscream had greatly enjoyed being flown around the corridors at high speed, but that by no means justified the risk of allowing them to do it.

Starscream missing the air continued to plague his mind though, particularly when his trine turned up at his door, arms expectantly open.

"He needs to fly." Thundercracker explained.

"Starscream's frame is incapable of flight." Soundwave adjusted his grip on Starscream possessively when the sparkling chirped what sounded like a reproachful greeting at his trine.

"That's why we're gonna take him up." Skywarp looked at him like he as stupid.

Soundwave stared between the two of them. "Unwise." He decided.

Thundercracker looked offended, but Skywarp quickly grew annoyed, "Hey, he's our trine-mate, you know. We know what's best for him."

Soundwave doubted they knew much about Starscream at all, either as an adult or a sparkling. He did not believe the adult Starscream would have ever allowed anyone to have known what was best for him.

"I will supervise." He decided.

Skywarp rolled his optics.

"It's just a flight." Thundercracker reassured.

"Yeah," Skywarp shrugged a shoulder, "Couple dives, maybe a barrel roll or two."

"You will not be allowed to hold him." Soundwave decided, glaring at Skywarp behind his visor.

At least Thundercracker had the sense not to throw a sparkling around in midair like a piece of sports equipment.

 


 

Thundercracker and Skywarp treated their outing with Starscream as their duty. They were not unkind to him, but Soundwave sensed no desire to nurture him. He found it difficult to summarise how he felt in regards to it. It meant he was in no danger of losing Starscream's guardianship to his trine, but it continued a worrying pattern that was developing in the adult Starscream's personal life.

And he resented his own role in.

"It's okay big guy," Frenzy seemed to have picked up on his concerns that evening. The cassette jumped onto the berth and patted his knee as he indulged himself in holding Starscream. "He's got us."

Soundwave nodded. This Starscream, at least, had friends, allies, whatever he and his cassettes were to him.

He settled down for the night, making Starscream comfortable on the berth in a nest of covers and pillows. His cassettes returned to him, all save Ravage, who had taken to staying out during the night, curling up next to Starscream and purring to him when he stirred in his sleep.

Soundwave found it endearing, so he allowed it, and found some mild amusement thinking of how an adult Starscream would receive such coddling treatment. This Starscream enjoyed it anyway.

His Starscream.

 


 

Change came swiftly the next day.

"I'm disappointed, Soundwave."

Soundwave stood tall under Megatron's scrutiny, keen to prove himself every inch the serious warrior he still was, regardless of the seeker sparkling fidgeting in his arms.

"You promised me progress," Megatron tapped his digits against the arm of his throne, "Instead, I have this."

He gestured to them, him and Starscream both. The distaste on his expression was not something Soundwave was used to having directed towards himself.

There was little he could summon in his own defence. He had tasked himself with the job of restoring the second in command, but had allowed himself to become distracted instead. In doing so he had not only drawn Megatron's ire, but risked Starscream at his most vulnerable.

"Reparations will be made, Lord Megatron," he tipped his helm, "Soundwave; will not disappoint again."

"No, you will not," Megatron agreed. "Because the task at hand is no longer yours."

Soundwave's spark lurched at what that could mean. Was Starscream being taken from him? Had he doomed the little seeker to some unpleasant fate? He tightened his grip.

"I have tasked his trine with the apprehension of the Autobot responsible for his predicament." Megatron said, glancing at the back of his servo, disinterested. "You need not trouble yourself with it any longer."

Soundwave had to fight against a swell of disappoint. If Thundercracker and Skywarp were successful the Autobot would complete the reversal swiftly, keen to return home. Soundwave had far less time with Starscream- his Starscream than he had been hoping for.

"Acknowledged." He told Megatron.

Dark optics lifted and studied him, lingering on Starscream's fidgeting form for some time.

"He's not your creation." Megatron reminded him. "This is for the best."

"...Acknowledged," Soundwave repeated, forcing back resentment. Starscream twisted in his arms and patted at his chest. Behind his mask, Soundwave struggled to summon a smile.

 


 

Soundwave soon heard that Perceptor was apprehended and cooperating- and he hadn't even begun to say goodbye yet.

Starscream was oblivious to the situation, laying on his back on Soundwave's desk, face scrunched in concentration as his thrusters stuttered to ignite.

"Very good," he praised when Starscream summoned the concentration needed to create a solid burn, scooting himself across the desk a few in inches. Starscream puffed his chest out with pride, waving his arms.

"You will be restored to your former self soon," he told him, still unsure of what Starscream could understand, or remember. "I have enjoyed your company, but it is for the best."

Starscream had stopped waving his limbs about. He was frowning, and Soundwave had to remind himself that this was Starscream's life- adult Starscream's, and he had no right to an opinion on how Starscream lived it.

"Should you wish to return to visit me here, I would welcome it," he continued, watching Starscream distractedly move his legs around. "Starscream; does not need to isolate himself. I will always be here for you."

He had barely begun on what he wanted to say when the door comm went off. Knowing what it would be, Soundwave gathered Starscream into his arms, pausing to relish the warmth of his tiny frame, before answering the door.

"It's time to go," Thundercracker said, observant enough to sound sympathetic.

Soundwave nodded, moved to step out.

Thundercracker stopped him. "It would be best- that is, Megatron suggested you didn't..."

Suggested meant ordered. He was not permitted to witness the transformation back, clearly no longer trusted to act reasonably regarding this situation. Starscream must have sensed his distress, somehow, as he began to whine, face contorting.

Thundercracker held out his arms.

Soundwave drew Starscream away from himself and the sparkling began to cry, optics flooding with fluid and rapidly overflowing. Soundwave didn't hear what Thundercracker said when he adjusted Starscream in his own arms. Starscream was reaching for him, tiny expression betrayed.

Thundercracker did not draw it out any longer. He left swiftly, but Soundwave continued to hear Starscream's distress long after they had gone.

 


 

He was not informed when the process had been finished, or even if it was successful. He guessed for himself, when the evening arrived and no news had come, that everything had occurred as expected.

Helm held high, he headed to the command centre. If he just so happened to run into Starscream there, so be it.

His intuition was correct. He rounded the doorway and spotted two pairs of wings at the monitor bank, a black pair, high and animated, and a white pair, low, lifeless, and full sized. Starscream was back to himself.

Soundwave began to approach slowly, nonchalantly, when he overheard their conversation.

"-should have seen yourself!" Skywarp was laughing, "Hilarious! You looked so stupid! Primus, you sure you don't remember?"

"Not a thing," Starscream answered stiffly, 'So you can shut up about it."

Skywarp laughed and continued anyway.

With an aching spark, Soundwave realised the sparkling he had grown so attached to was gone now, and had never truly been his to begin with. He turned and left the command centre, memories fond but few.

 


 

The scratched Buzzsaw's back, listening to the silent void created in the little Starscream's absence. There were no indignant squeaks for attention, no blasts of igniting thrusters, or twins laughing at his antics. The room was too tidy in absence of his messes, too empty without him napping in the most inconvenient of places.

He was considering cutting his loses and turning in early that night, hoping a recharge could lessen the sting of loss, when he sensed an indecisive presence outside in the corridor. He lifted his helm, but by then the presence was fading.

Again, as he was about to lie down, it was back, right outside the door this time.

He got up, went to the door, and opened it just as Starscream had turned to pace away again.

At Soundwave's sudden appearance he froze. That wide optic'd look of surprise was the very same he wore as a sparkling, when the bubbles in his tanks turned into hiccups.

"Starscream," Soundwave said gently, hardly daring to wonder why he was here if he claimed not to remember...

Starscream seemed to be at battle with himself.

"...You said I could visit." He said defensively, shoulders hunched awkwardly.

Hope blossomed in Soundwave's spark. He did remember. All Soundwave was able to do was stand there in ridiculously unprepared silence.

The courage Starscream must have mustered to come here began to dwindle, he backed away, face contorting in anger- always his first defence.

"I feared you would not." Soundwave admitted before the situation could turn. He stepped aside, inviting Starscream in.

Starscream hesitated.

"Please." He added, "The room is quiet in your absence."

"Isn't that a good thing?" Starscream squinted.

"No." Soundwave reached for him, the empty space between them somehow more than the few inches it was, and took his wrist. Starscream did not shake him off. "Come in."

Although Starscream was no longer a sparkling, sweet and innocent and easy to love, Soundwave still cared. He needed Starscream to know that. No one deserved to be so alone.

"Fine," Starscream stuck his nose in the air and strode on in, "But I'm not recharging with Ravage again."

Soundwave closed the door behind them, his room loud and lively once again with everyone home- both the creations he had made, and the one he had found.