evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Title: The Knack of Flying
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Fandom: Transformers (G1)
Rating: G
Warnings: Not nearly as serious as it sounds.
Word Count: ~1350
Summary: Just one little slip was all it took.

The Knack of Flying

"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." ~Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

A surge of surprise jolted abruptly down the team’s private link, startling Silverbolt out of the paperwork trance he’d allowed himself to fall into at his desk. When no further communication followed the sudden wash of emotion, Silverbolt consoled his automatic concern with the thought that whatever had startled Fireflight, he wasn’t calling for help. It was flimsy reassurance however, and Silverbolt frowned as the link subsided to its usual quietly humming awareness. Still, Fireflight was somewhere nearby and didn’t seem particularly distressed...

I’ll go check on him! Air Raid offered across the team’s comm frequency, already on the move.

“Go ahead, Air Raid,” Silverbolt acknowledged, privately relieved. A few days’ confinement to base for repairs had left Air Raid twitchy and thoroughly (dangerously) bored. Letting him investigate what Fireflight was up to would solve two problems. Pleased with the neatness of the solution, Silverbolt returned his attention to the reports.

True to form, it didn’t take long before he was interrupted again - this time by a hesitant knock at his door. He bit back a curse and called a greeting. His mood wasn’t improved when Ironhide shuffled into his office, followed by Trailbreaker.

“All right,” Silverbolt sighed. “What did they do now?”

He was expecting irritation. Anger, even. Silverbolt loved his wingmates but he’d be the first to admit that they weren’t the poster children for playing nicely with others.

“Silverbolt, we’ve got some bad news,” Trailbreaker started, voice solemn.

Silverbolt went cold at the sympathy in Trailbreaker’s expression, clamping down hard on his end of the team’s link.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, forcing his voice to steadiness.

“It’s Fireflight,” Ironhide spoke up.

“Fireflight?” Silverbolt repeated, slightly confused. Before Silverbolt had closed off his awareness of the team, Fireflight had seemed fine and Air Raid hadn’t contacted Silverbolt to say otherwise...

“He was with us up on the top of the volcano,” Ironhide continued. “Helping with some research Wheeljack wanted to do.”

“Fireflight was helping carry the equipment Wheeljack wanted us to take measurements with,” Trailbreaker took over the explanation. “By the time we got to the top and started to get things set up, he was all tangled up in it. So when the rock broke away under his feet, he couldn’t catch his balance and there was no way for him to transform... I’m sorry, Silverbolt, but Fireflight fell. We tried to catch him but we were too far away.”

“What?” Silverbolt asked. Things were starting to make an appalling sort of sense, now. “He what?”

“He fell,” Ironhide said, anger and sorrow edging his words. “We tried to stop it but - slag it, we’re sorry, Silverbolt. We came to ask if your team can help us find him - the mountain’s a big place. Maybe he managed to catch himself on the way down?”

“Okay, I see,” Silverbolt sighed and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. Air Raid, is Fireflight okay? he called across the team’s comm.

“Ask him yourself,” Air Raid returned aloud as he walked into the office, drawing a somewhat battered-looking Fireflight with him.

Fireflight’s optics went straight to Silverbolt but his apologetic grin turned sheepish when he caught sight of Ironhide and Trailbreaker standing there. “Hi guys!” he chirped. “Sorry about the equipment...”

Catching sight of the mangled bits of machinery Fireflight was holding, Silverbolt hoped Wheeljack hadn’t been working on anything significant.

Ironhide and Trailbreaker stared at him in shock for a long moment before Trailbreaker gathered himself enough to shake off the surprise and walk over to where Fireflight was shuffling his feet and looking embarrassed.

“I think,” Trailbreaker said, gently taking the broken equipment out of Fireflight’s hands, “that Wheeljack would be more concerned about you than his equipment.”

“I hope so,” Fireflight said, frowning fretfully. “I don’t want to make Wheeljack angry. Maybe he can recover the memory files?”

“Most of Wheeljack’s inventions are designed to take a beating,” Trailbreaker commented, smiling fondly at Fireflight’s open relief. "Where's the rest of it?"

"I left it outside," Fireflight reported. "Air Raid thought I should come in and see Silverbolt. Do you think we should go-"

“Forget the science toys,” Ironhide broke in. “How in Primus’ name did you get down in one piece?” he demanded, sounding torn between relief and exasperation.

“I flew,” Fireflight answered absently, attention still on the collection of chips and wires in Trailbreaker’s hands.

“Not very well, you didn’t,” Air Raid commented reprovingly, poking lightly at a deep scrape on Fireflight’s side. “Couldn’t you have tried avoiding a few more rocks?”

Mostly cosmetic damage, he reassured Silverbolt on a private comm link. Looks a lot worse than it is.

“You flew? He flew?” Ironhide interrupted loudly, rounding on Silverbolt. “You can fly?”

“Well, yeah,” Air Raid replied slowly, in the cautious tones of someone pointing out the blindingly obvious. “We’re Aerialbots. Flying is kind of what we do.”

“That’s not what I meant!” Ironhide snapped. “No one ever said you could fly like that!” he accused, pointing at them.

Air Raid and Fireflight gave him identical confused looks and Silverbolt spotted Trailbreaker hiding a grin.

“Yes, we can fly outside of our alt-modes,” Silverbolt told Ironhide calmly. “Not as easily as when we’re transformed but we can.”

“That’s why the equipment got banged up,” Fireflight volunteered. “I’m not used to maneuvering with extra weight like that, especially not in that mode. It was kind of tricky to keep stable.”

Well, that explained the damage Fireflight was now sporting.

“Then why haven’t we ever seen any of you do it before now?” Ironhide nearly shouted.

“Because jets in the Ark are bad enough but flying robot-shaped robots seem to trigger everyone’s ‘aaaah Decepticon - shoot it!’ reflex,” Silverbolt returned dryly, Air Raid and Fireflight nodding long-suffering agreement with the statement.

“Why I - but you -” Ironhide spluttered incoherently.

Trailbreaker lost the battle to contain his amusement and started to laugh, shifting his handful of broken equipment into the crook of one arm and patting Ironhide on the shoulder.

“Whatever the reason, glad to see you’re okay,” he told Fireflight with a warm smile. “Come on, Ironhide,” he said, tugging lightly at Ironhide’s shoulder. “Let’s leave them to it. We can go pick up the rest of Wheeljack's toys.”

“Crazy jets!” Ironhide finally managed, throwing his hands up and stomping out of Silverbolt’s office. Trailbreaker followed with a cheerful wave.

Silverbolt returned his attention to his wingmates, huddled with their heads together as they exchanged a flurry of whispers. “What?” he said flatly when they turned a pair of bright looks on him.

“Are you done with your paperwork yet?” Fireflight asked hopefully. “Everybody’s been busy all day!”

“Fireflight...” Silverbolt started to protest. He had plenty of work left to do and Fireflight should be going to see a medic, rather than collecting his brothers for a cuddle.

“Please?” Fireflight begged shamelessly. “Even just to take an energon break? You can come down to the lounge with us for a bit and then come right back. We won’t stop you - promise!”

Silverbolt didn’t believe that for a second but before he could say so, Air Raid broke in on his comm.

Come on Silverbolt! I have it on good authority that Streetwise and Blades have just dragged First Aid into the lounge to make sure he remembers to energize. I think ‘Flight could use a charge himself, don’t you?

You know, when you bother to think, you’re not bad at this plotting stuff, Silverbolt informed him. Why don’t you ever do that in battle?

I have no idea what you’re talking about, Air Raid retorted primly. I’m just looking out for my teammates.

Silverbolt sighed and gave in. He’d quickly learned that sometimes it was best to accept defeat gracefully.

“All right,” he said. “But only a short break!”

At least the pests pretended to respect that, nodding enthusiastically as they caught his hands and hustled him out of his office.

Oh well, he thought as he followed them down the corridor, Fireflight chattering happily to one side and Air Raid radiating satisfaction on the other, there are worse fates.


Expanded version of a conversation snippet.


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