From Transformers: Lost and Found
This is an awful idea. Sterling has to stop as the spacebridge disappears behind her, lifting a hand to rub at her helm. This is just going to be yet another lonely night remembering awful things. Even now all she can remember is how Behemoth died, how his form crumbled and disintegrated beneath her hands. No! She must focus on why she is here.
Behemoth would take his squad to this very bar once a Cybertronian year to celebrate a holiday from his hometown near the Sea of Rust. She hasn’t come to the Rusting Pylon since leaving with Screwloose… Hasn’t dared to even try to bring Behemoth back up in the presence of his murderer. It’s time to correct that and continue the tradition.
Sterling reaches for the door handle but freezes as it swings open on its own, revealing a towering figure of grey plating behind. Her optics travel up the frame before her, past braid like cabling and faded decepticon badge, to focus on a squared face with critical optics. Oh no.
She didn’t think they would still be coming too.
Thermal lurches forward, bringing her fist straight down on Sterling’s jaw. The beast former goes flying, crashing to the ground with a harsh crunch and flailing wings. A solid minute passes between pushing herself up and registering what hit her.
The jet alt femme, obviously.
Sterling hadn’t expected her to be here… which was a stupid assumption in hindsight, Thermal was just as close to Behemoth as she was.
Sterling raises a hand to her face, yanking off the now dented faceplate to spit energon onto the ground. A bit more comes too. “You fragger!” She wipes at her chin, glaring towards the taller femme, “You knocked out my tooth!”
“Serves you right,” Thermal declares, entirely unrepentant, and steps forward to continue the assault, “You leave with his killer then think you can come back here like nothing ever happened-“
A blur of green and yellow comes falling out of the bar’s doorway to collapse onto Sterling, clinging to her frame as he croons drunkenly, “Sterling! You’re baaaack!” The speedster squishes her cheeks together without seeming to notice the acidic drool trailing down her chin, “We were so worried!”
Good to see some mechs never change.
Thermal pauses, laying a hand on her hip as she groans out, “Fleetfoot. I’m trying to be dramatic here.”
“Whaa?” Fleetfoot leans backwards, nearly bending in half to look at his younger teammate, “But she’s here! And she’s safe! She looks fraggin awful but I’d know that voice anywhere!”
Sterling deadpans, dryly stating, “Thanks, Fleet.”
“Welcome, sweetie!” Fleetfoot continues to snuggle against her chest plates, tracing circles with a digit until she removes his hands from her face and pushes them both up. He just hangs off her frame as she stands. “I might have a chance with the hot mech in the corner!”
“Fleetfoot I’ve told you three times already,” Sterling looks up, seeing a vehicon hanging in the bar’s doorway as he sips engex through a straw, “That’s a slot machine.”
“How much has he had?” Sterling asks Convoy, knowing the miner is likely the natural chaperone.
“I’m three drinks in!” Fleetfoot proudly slurs, holding up five fingers.
“Eight.” Convoy corrects.
“Eight drinks!” He lowers one of the fingers.
“We’re taking him home soon. Man that fighting mood is utterly ruined now.” Thermal steps up to her former teammate properly, towering over her as she considers the mutated femme, “truce for now?”
Sterling doesn’t know if she should accept. She isn’t the reason for Behemoth’s death, they all know that much, but the fact that she ran off with his murderer? That seems like an unforgivable sin. But… she can at least pretend like everything is ok for tonight, however icy they may be, “Alright.”
Too bad she didn’t account for how forgiving Thermal can be at times.
Sterling lets out a loud oof which quickly morphs to a squeak as the life is nearly squeezed out of her with a crushing hug, smashing Fleetfoot between them as Thermal pulls both to her chest.
“I MISSED YOU, BOOM STICK!” Thermal takes a leaf out of the speedster’s book, rubbing her own face against Sterling’s helm.
“Do NOT call me that!” Sterling hisses loudly as she struggles against her former comrade.
"It doesn't even make sense! My alt mode never made anything close to a boom sound!" Sterling argues the entire time she is carried into the bar with her drunken squadmate, Convoy following along behind.
Eventually they get her into a booth and get to talking. They catch up, discuss what they are all doing after the war, remember the good times—all things normal, well adjusted mechs do.
Its about an hour in that Sterling pauses, glass of fancy engex raised to her lips.
“So where’s Ironskull?”
The other three pause in their conversation and drinks as well, turning to look at Sterling as she asks the question. It had just occurred to her that there was a member missing from their old gang, a tank alt named Ironskull. She remembers him fondly, despite his intimidating appearance and hostile mannerisms. While he was aggressive in most situations, Sterling had always found him to be good company—often being able to understand how she would bemoan of the gun barrels adoring her back. He had similar kibble, his own massive tank gun sticking straight up in the same manner. She used to ride on his alt mode and talk. Though, their conversations were rather terse now that she thinks about it.
“He got a conjunx.” Convoy finally reveals, prompting the other two to start snickering.
“Wait,” Sterling has to put down her drink, focusing fully on the vehicon, “Ironskull, forever doomed bachelor, settled down. Really?”
Fleetfoot leans in close with a smirk, leaning against Sterling’s side as he whispers, “an organic conjunx.”
Sterling jolts in her seat to face the jet present, “Thermal-“
“It’s true.” The other femme gravely states, confirming Fleetfoot’s claim.
“But-“ She can’t believe it, “But he hates organics! Its so out of character for him…” Ironskull had always hated organics, thinking them better squished than in his way. The idea that he married one…
“Honestly,” Fleetfoot leans back in his seat, still resting his chin on Sterling’s shoulder, “I think she kicked his ass and impressed him or something.”
“Ok, that sounds more in character.” If there was one thing Ironskull could have appreciated its someone who could take care of themselves.
“He proposed to this adorable little avian.” Thermal leans in too to gossip, “He is officially considered an organic caretaker, or whatever they are called, as well, seeing as his new little conjunx had offspring prior to their bonding. Its sickeningly sweet, they call him… Well I can’t pronounce what they call him but I’m assuming it is something similar to ‘genetic donor’ or whatever term organics use for a guardian.”
Sterling is leaning back in her chair, hand raised to her face as she processes this information. Finally, she says, “That’s so weird. I would not put him in charge of any offspring, especially not after bashing Fleet in the face with his gun barrel.”
“To be fair,” Convoy speaks up, pointing out, “Fleet ran up behind him screaming about the exciting thing he found and he just turned to look.”
The aforementioned speedster rubs his face as he recalls that day,“… My nose is still off center from that…”
Despite the literally painful memory for Fleetfoot and strange reveal, the four quickly find themselves laughing as they recall how Ironskull—stoic, aggressive Ironskull—had been panicking about the idea that he might have killed Fleetfoot by rotating his alt.
When she eventually leaves, its not with the loneliness she had anticipated. Instead she feels… At ease, for the first time in awhile. Her old friends—as much as it pains her to admit Thermal falls into that category—don’t hate her.
With happy, if drunken, waves and quickly taken photos from Fleetfoot, Sterling returns to the Lost Light.
The happiness doesn’t last.