15. What Will Be, Will Be
PLEASE NOTE: I do not own "Que Sera, Sera"! The song belongs to Doris Day.
Everything was pretty much set now. Sparkling toys and supplies were purchased; the "nursery" (really the corner of the Seekers' room) was now completed; Starscream began "harvesting" his lactations into bottles and storing them in the freezer (it would last longer in there, as opposed to the fridge). Everyone was trying to sparkling-proof the base, too; no choking hazards could be on the ground, and nothing that was sharp or dangerous to eat.
Starscream, who had never been so continuously uncomfortable in his life, finally decided to let Skywarp sing to the little twins. Skywarp usually either massaged Starscream's burning, aching wings or his back, depending on which hurt more; other times he would stroke the enormous sparkling-bump that was just getting bigger every day (just when it seemed like there was no more room!). Even though Starscream was 34 weeks along now and experiencing pain in pretty much every part of his body, he just got to lean back on the bed, close his eyes, and relax as he listened to Skywarp's singing:
"Now I have children of my own
They ask their daddy: What will I be?
Will I be handsome, will I be rich?
I tell them tenderly:
Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera"
"I love that song," Starscream whispered as he turned his head to the side, eyes shut. Right now he was propped up on pillows, as usual, and although he'd been achy as always, the singing and rest made him feel a little better. "Where have I heard it before?"
"Don't you remember? It was the song our mother always sang to us when we were hurt or upset," Skywarp replied gently. "Now you can sing it to your sparklings. Or I can, at least."
"Oh, yes, that's right." Starscream could remember, very vaguely, the time when he was a Seekerling and so were his two brothers, all three of them crammed into one crib; he remembered the way his mother would rock them back and forth every night in her arms until they drifted into stasis; and yes, that was the song Starscream loved her to sing to him. That was what Starscream remembered once, the beauty that was family.
It was well past midnight, and Thundercracker was still wide awake. Skywarp and Moonbeam were maintaining their now-shaky relationship, so they were still sleeping in the same room together. Starscream was in a fitful stasis; he wasn't allowed to lie on his front, for fear of squishing the sparklings, but sleeping on his back was painful to him, so sleep did not come easily.
All day long, Thundercracker had been feeling so many things, and none of them did he understand. Part of him wondered what it would be like if Skywarp and Moonbeam split up, and she could be Thundercracker’s girlfriend…but could he do that to Skywarp?
Sure. Why not? Moonbeam was public property. Skywarp didn’t own her.
Thundercracker thought of the fight Moonbeam had with Gemstone about a month ago. That fight had turned him on immensely. For the whole rest of the day he’d been so pressurized he could hardly stand it; finally he convinced Gemstone to have a little fun with him that night to get rid of all that stress.
Watching femmes fight always turned Thundercracker on. Simply put, he liked tough femmes who fought hard when they needed to, like Gemstone did. Moonbeam hadn’t even stood a chance against her.
“Oh, slag, not again…” Thundercracker whispered. There it was again, pressurization. Why? It was weird; Thundercracker hadn’t had Moonbeam on his mind this time. Really, he didn’t know what was on his mind. Something was making his spark beat faster. Something. Thundercracker didn’t know what it was or where it came from, but he was suddenly feeling very frisky.
Thundercracker didn’t want just anyone. Moonbeam had been living with them for a very long time now, almost a year, and she still hadn’t shown any sign of interest in him. Was he letting her slip through his fingers? Was it not meant to be between her and Skywarp?
I should probably go get Gemstone, Thundercracker thought. Maybe she can help me forget about my beloved Moonbeam again…
Thundercracker quietly slipped out of bed, making sure not to wake up Starscream, and made his way to the med bay, where Gemstone slept at night. When he walked in, there she was, sleeping. Her pearly white paint job was reflecting the moonlight, making it shine. There was a peaceful smile on her face as she slept on her side, clinging to the sheets. She didn’t look like a hooker; she looked beautiful.
As he walked over to the repair table where Gemstone slept, Thundercracker felt his spark beating faster again.
“My precious Gemstone,” Thundercracker whispered, stroking her head. She stirred in her sleep, but didn’t open her eyes.
Thundercracker just sat there for a moment, watching Gemstone sleep. For some reason he liked it here. She was good in bed, but they weren’t even doing anything right now and yet he still couldn’t stop looking at her. It was confusing. So confusing.
With a heavy spark, Thundercracker kissed Gemstone atop her head, stood up, and left the room.
Skywarp was interacting with Starscream's sparklings again. Later that day, Starscream had another appointment with Moonbeam, to make sure everything was fine. These appointments were becoming more frequent, since the twins would be here very soon. In fact, Moonbeam told Starscream that twins often came early...defined as before 37 weeks. So now Starscream basically felt like there was a bomb ticking inside of him, but he still let out a contented sigh as Skywarp sang the song's second verse:
Then I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart: What lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows, day after...?"
Skywarp's voice broke, and he made a little whimpering sort of noise. Starscream grunted with effort as he pulled himself up and looked at the purple jet; he was obviously trying to stop the tears that ran down his face anyway.
"What happened?" said Starscream. "Skywarp?"
"Don't worry about it," Skywarp insisted. "Relax."
"Well, I can't now, can I?" said Starscream. "Now I want to know what's gotten you so upset."
"I couldn't sing the 'rainbows day after day' part." Skywarp wiped his eyes and sniffed. "Moonbeam and I used to have rainbows day after day. Now we don't."
"Did she dump you?"
"Sort of," Skywarp said shakily. "Today I was only trying to give her a kiss, and she just told me she needed a relationship 'break'. Whatever the slag that means."
"Oh," Starscream whispered. "That's harsh."
"I don't even know what she wants from me anymore," Skywarp mumbled. "Sometimes she likes me, sometimes she doesn't. It's impossible for me to know how she really feels. Femmes are a mystery."
"That they are, Skywarp," said Starscream quietly. "That they are."
With that, Starscream managed to sit up all the way (not without some difficulty), took Skywarp into his arms, and finished the song:
"Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be
Que sera, sera"
LATER THAT DAY...
This was the first sparkling appointment with Moonbeam that Skywarp felt he couldn't go to, although he had teleported Starscream there. Starscream understood why his brother didn't want to be around Moonbeam at this time.
"Thanks for the escort service, 'Warp," said Starscream gratefully. "I'll never take walking for granted again."
"I'll be waiting for you outside," Skywarp told him. "Make sure you tell me everything, okay? I want to make sure the twins are still doing fine."
"Don't worry, I'll take note of everything," Starscream promised him as he entered the med bay.
"Wow, you look just about to pop, don't you?" Moonbeam said snidely as she gestured to the repair table. It wasn't easy (in fact, it was almost impossible), but Starscream finally managed to pull himself into a sitting position on top of it. Seriously, this was crazy! It was like he was one giant beach ball, being slowly approached by someone carrying a hunting knife. One stab, and then boom. Everything would explode.
"Wha...what are you going to do t-today?" Starscream wheezed, out of breath. All he did was climb up onto a repair table, yet he felt like he had just run a marathon.
"Well, first of all, take some deep breaths," Moonbeam advised. "Unless you want an inhaler."
Starscream did as he was told and slowed down his breathing, trying to get his spark rate back to normal (it was pumping wildly). "M-Moonbeam, I'm like...huge."
"Considering you're having twins, not really," said Moonbeam. "But before we go on, do you have any questions for me?"
"Not really." Starscream shook his head.
"Is everything fine?" Moonbeam asked. "Nothing seems off? Remember, it's important that you tell me everything."
"Well, I am having some sharp pains," Starscream told her nervously. "Does that mean I'm in labor? It doesn't, does it?"
"No, of course not," said Moonbeam. "Where are they? Abdomen?"
"Yes...it's kind of like a tightening feeling."
"Just practice contractions," said Moonbeam lightly. "They get your body ready for the real thing."
"My body will never be ready for true labor," said Starscream uneasily.
"Well, that's not your decision to make, nor mine," Moonbeam told him, her voice a little more serious now. "Your body knows when to do this stuff, even if you don't."
"But what if they're not okay?" Starscream was now glad he carried napkins with him, because he found himself wiping at his eyes.
"That's why today is the day for your physical exam," Moonbeam said. "All we're going to do is make sure nothing's wrong and if it is, we can discuss some ways to solve it."
"But Moonbeam," Starscream protested, but she didn't listen.
"First I have to listen to their sparks." Moonbeam pressed her stethoscope to Starscream's spark chamber. "Now, breathe in and breathe out for me?"
Starscream was controlling his breathing as Moonbeam listened for his twins' spark-beats. She nodded in approval and then began to focus on the sparkling-bump, a pensive look on her pretty face. She pressed her ear to it and smiled as she felt movement. Starscream felt the movement too, of course, so he took another deep breath and tried to stay still so Moonbeam could sense them.
"Good?" asked Starscream.
"Very," said Moonbeam, and lifted up his spark chamber. "Hmm, this thing's coming along quite well. How much do you get per day?"
"About enough for a single dose of energon," Starscream told her. "Enough to fill up one cube. Do you think I made the right decision?"
"To nurse?" said Moonbeam. "In the end it's up to the carrier in my opinion, but nursing is healthier for them and you."
"Well, I'll have something to do with the lactation cable," said Starscream. "Something to use it for."
"Either way, though, everything looks good so far, so just sit still for a moment." Moonbeam reached for one of her test tubes again and a needle.
"What are you doing with that thing?" Starscream asked nervously.
"Your energon levels need to be tested," Moonbeam replied casually, grabbing Starscream's finger. "It's important that you're free of any viruses before childbirth."
"I don't think this is such a good idea," said Starscream. "I do not think needles are a good idea."
"Listen, how many times do I have to keep telling you this?" Moonbeam snapped. "I've helped plenty of carriers before, and I specialize in doctoring Seekers. I even went to a first-rate university in Vos. So you're going to have to trust me, okay?"
"Okay," Starscream mumbled and waited for his horrible CNA test to be over. It seemed like forever, but Moonbeam finally took the needle out of Starscream's finger and collected his energon in her test tube. Starscream felt sick again at the sight.
When the energon was harvested and put away for later analysis, Moonbeam leaned back in her chair and said, "So, their sparks are beating well and they seem to be in good condition. Their heads are facing downwards, which is important. Your lactation cable is fully developed, although it won't produce enough energon until your twins are actually born. You're very close to meeting your sparklings. If you carry them to term, that's only another six weeks."
"Have any of your other patients said they felt...y'know, weird?" Starscream asked. "Because I've gone through a lot, much of it unpleasant, and I sometimes feel like a stranger in my own body."
"Don't worry," said Moonbeam. "I know your body's changed a lot in the past 34 weeks, and fast. It can be hard to get used to. After you give birth things won't ever go back completely to your pre-sparkling body, but you'll feel a lot better, especially with two newborns to keep you company."
"Well, I'll be able to move again, at least," said Starscream. "That's good."
"But before we can talk about that, we do need to talk about labor and birth," said Moonbeam. "I've brought many, many sparklings into the world, so you're in good hands."
"I'm not going to be able to do it, Moonbeam."
"Why wouldn't you?" Moonbeam shrugged. "I'm not saying it will be easy, but you can do it."
"Can you explain it, though?" Starscream asked. "I'm not sure exactly...y'know...what's going to be happening to me."
"Well, when somebody's in the family way, the sparkling clings to and feeds off of the carrier's spark," Moonbeam explained. "You look huge like that because although they're connected to your spark, their bodies take up all the room inside you. On the big day, your energon's going to break and you're going to start having contractions. When the sparklings come out it'll be through your valve, and I'll cut the cord that connects them to your spark as soon as they come out."
"How would I manage to do it?" Starscream insisted. "It sounds really painful."
"There will be some discomfort," said Moonbeam calmly. "Still, it's a completely natural process, and there should be no real problems with the birth."
"How long does it take?" Starscream asked.
“Since they’re your first sparklings, it won’t be speedy, probably somewhere from six to sixteen hours.” Moonbeam shrugged. “There’s not really an answer to that question, officially—every pregnancy is different.”
“But how will I know I’m laboring?”
“Your energon might not break right away,” said Moonbeam. “But another way to tell is by getting the contractions. You can wait them out by yourself for a little—watch TV, read a book, etc.—but once you can’t talk through them and especially if your energon breaks, call me. Any suspicious pain at all, call me.”
“I feel a lot of pain, all the time,” said Starscream. “In case you haven’t noticed.”
“If something’s out of the ordinary, I meant,” Moonbeam told him. “No matter what, don’t hesitate to call if you think the twins are here, even if it’s just a tiny nagging thought. You’re also more likely to go into labor at night, because you’re more relaxed.”
“All right,” said Starscream. “Thanks, Moonbeam.”
“No problem,” she chirped. Starscream got a good look at her then. She sounded so colloquial, so happy. Didn’t she know she was continuing to hurt Skywarp, who still wouldn’t let go of her? Didn’t she know she was playing hot-and-cold with him? Or did she know, and just not care?
“What are you looking at me like that for, Starscream?” Moonbeam demanded.
“Look, Moonbeam, I really appreciate you helping me with the sparklings and all, but…” Starscream sighed. “Must you be this way with Skywarp? The poor guy is hurt and confused out of his mind about what you want from him.”
“I don’t want anything from him,” Moonbeam snapped. “I’ve just been in this relationship for a long time, and, well…I guess I need some fresh air.”
“That’s kind of insensitive,” said Starscream indignantly.
“Well, it’s how I feel,” Moonbeam told him. “And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Moonbeam, I know you think you’re better than everyone else,” Starscream told her angrily. “But you’re not. I don’t appreciate how you’re treating my brother, or your high-and-mighty attitude.”
“Big deal,” she said back. “What are you gonna do about it, huh?”
“I’ll be the judge of that.” Starscream glared at her. “I challenge you to a dogfight.”
“Are you nuts?” Moonbeam yelled. “You can’t do that! You could give birth any day now!”
“Fine, then, as soon as I can, we’ll have a dogfight outside,” Starscream snapped.
“You’re on!” Moonbeam shouted.
“May the best Seeker win,” said Starscream calmly. “And I think we both know who that is.”