[TF] Tricks of the Trade Addendum

The last thing Sunstreaker expected when he returned to the room he shared with Starscream, was to find the charity case sprawled out on Starscream’s berth, napping away as if unaware of the world around him.

The flame-painted newbie was taking up an obnoxious amount of space. He was clean, though his paint was atrociously scuffed and dinged and dented. Sunstreaker itched just to look at him. Snuffling vents indicated he was in recharge, or at least a low-level power down.

What the frag was he doing here? And where was Starscream?

The door to their private ‘rack opened, answering his unvoiced question. Starscream came sauntering out, still a bit damp in the seams from his rinse, a puff of steam accompanying his exit. Liked it scalding, his Seeker did.

“Welcome back!” Starscream said brightly, striding right up to Sunstreaker and giving him a peck on the cheek. “Good client?”

“A regular,” Sunstreaker answered. He tipped his head toward the berth. “What’s he doing here?” On Starscream’s berth. Where Sunstreaker had intended to recharge tonight, because he really wanted to be cuddling his Seeker.

Starscream’s gaze flicked toward the berth. “Recharging, it looks like.”

Sunstreaker rolled his optics. “Yes, I know that. I meant ‘why is he doing that here?’ He has his own room.”

Starscream shrugged, his wings giving offhand flicks, as he spun on a heelstrut and moved toward his berth. “I couldn’t very well leave him alone in his room after we shared a client.”

“Uh. Why not? There’s no rule that says you have to keep any strays who wander your way.” Sunstreaker folded his arms over his chestplate.

He glared as Rodimus made a small, almost cute noise, turning over on the berth toward where Starscream had leaned a hip against it. He nuzzled the pillow.

Starscream’s gaze turned toward Rodimus, and there it was. A hint of fondness in his expression. “I’ll not use him and then toss him aside,” he said. “That’s not how we treat one another.”

Sunstreaker gritted his denta. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

He was treated to a sharp look in return. “I know exactly what you meant.” Starscream hefted himself onto his berth, nudging Rodimus with a hand to the newbie’s shoulder. “Come on, brat. Make some room.”

“Nnn.” Rodimus’ optics brightened as he rolled over onto his back. “You’re making too much noise,” he grumbled.

“Because you should be in your own room,” Sunstreaker bit out.

Rodimus’ optics fully brightened. “I was invited,” he said.

“Then consider yourself uninvited.”

Starscream rolled his optics. “Ignore him, Rodimus. He doesn’t get to decide who recharges in my berth.” He tossed his head and gave Sunstreaker a haughty look. “You have your own berth. You’re welcome to use it.”

This was decidedly unfair. Sunstreaker was exhausted, drained all the way to his spark. All he wanted to do was come back to his room, curl up next to his Seeker, and soak up Starscream’s warmth as they recharged. Together. He had not wanted to come back to find a usurper in their room.

Sunstreaker gnawed on the inside of his cheeks, biting back the urge to whine. Starscream was right, of course. They were roommates and only just. Sunstreaker had no business telling Starscream who could be in his berth, and he couldn’t make demands to put himself there either.

He couldn’t claim Starscream. He already knew that. He just hated the reminder.

“Fine,” Sunstreaker said, forcing the word out and knowing he sounded juvenile for it. “Do what you want.” He unfolded his arms and stalked toward his own berth. His far too large and cold and empty berth.

That was good though. In a way. Clearly, he’d gotten too close. He needed to remember what they were really doing here.

Starscream was his roommate. His good friend, and Sunstreaker felt much, much more. But the truth remained. Starscream would leave eventually, and Sunstreaker would remain, because that was the way things were.

“You know, this is a pretty big berth.” Rodimus’ half-amused, half-taunting tone made Sunstreaker pause and turn toward them.

The little sneak’s lips were curved in a smile and he looked far too smug for Sunstreaker’s comfort.

“I’m well aware of that,” Sunstreaker snapped. “But I don’t want your pity, and I don’t want you offering what’s not yours to give.”

Starscream rolled his optics and slid off the berth. “You can be so difficult sometimes, you know that?”

Yes, actually, he did know that. Had Starscream missed the fact that until he came along, Sunstreaker couldn’t manage to keep a roommate?

“This berth is big enough for the three of us,” Starscream added as he slid into Sunstreaker’s personal space, his field preceding him, warm with exasperation and affection. “Besides, I thought you might give him a repaint in the morning.”

Sunstreaker’s optics widened. “And you didn’t think I’d have a problem with this at all?” he demanded. “You didn’t ask me or even warn me!”

“You were with a client.” Starscream shrugged and something in his expression turned sly. “And you can’t tell me you’re not itching to fix it anyway.”

Sunstreaker folded his arms and angled his frame away from Starscream. “That’s not the point.” He sniffed.

Starscream chuckled and leaned in closer, until the heat and scent of him flooded Sunstreaker’s senses. “I know. Now come on, come to berth with me. He’s actually not that bad beneath the bluster.”

“That’s not the point either,” Sunstreaker muttered. His optics cut to Rodimus, but the newbie didn’t say anything. Just lay there on the berth, lips curved in a half-smirk, watching them intently.

Starscream kissed him on the cheek again, his lips lingering. “Join me if you want. The invitation is there.” He rested his hand on Sunstreaker’s arm, giving it a squeeze. “I’ll even make sure you don’t have to touch him.”

Sunstreaker turned his head quickly, catching Starscream’s mouth for a kiss. He unfolded his arms, cupping Starscream’s face with one hand, as Starscream’s lips pressed firmly against his, a glossa joining the fray. Starscream leaned against him, all warmth and buzzing field.

Sunstreaker caved.

“Fine,” he said against Starscream’s lips, his thumb sweeping over his Seeker’s cheeks. “I’ll join you.”

Starscream nuzzled him. “And you’ll paint him in the morning?”

Sunstreaker sighed. “Can’t have anyone walking out of my quarters looking like that. People might think I was letting my quality standards slip.”

“And we can’t have that.” Starscream chuckled and brushed their lips together. “Now come on. I can tell how exhausted you are by your field. You need to be recharging, not sulking.” He took Sunstreaker’s hand and tugged him.

“Wasn’t sulking,” Sunstreaker retorted.

“You definitely were,” Rodimus piped up.

Sunstreaker glared. But he let Starscream tug him toward the berth, and onto it. Rodimus shifted over, making more space, and Starscream lowered himself to his front in the middle, leaving room for Sunstreaker on his right. It was good enough, he supposed, even though he’d rather Starscream recharge on top of him like usual.

Better than sleeping alone.

He just hoped this wasn’t the beginning of a habit. Sunstreaker didn’t want to share. He only had Starscream for so long, after all. For a limited definition of the word ‘had’ anyway.

The lights dimmed. Rodimus boldly snuggled up to Starscream’s side, tossing Sunstreaker a triumphant look.

Fragger. If Sunstreaker didn’t have so much pride in his own work, he’d slag the brat’s paint up something awful tomorrow.

Sunstreaker edged closer to Starscream and tangled their legs together. He wasn’t defeated.

Starscream was still his Seeker for a little while yet. And he’d indulge for as long as he could.


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