Inspired by Jazz The Tiger’s picture Melancholy.
Sitting outside on an old stone column, Starscream shivered as the rain battered his back and wings, refusing to enter the clan’s cave. He was mourning the loss of his unborn clutch. Not only had it been his first clutch and therefore positively devastating, but who the sire of the clutch was added an extra level of trauma.
Megatron had been the sire.
As soon as Starscream’s heat had barely started, Megatron had begun hounding him. For days. Granted, the hounding was proper courting, but it had still been annoying until the full strength of the heat had struck Starscream all at once. By then, he had been lifting his tail and letting Megatron mount and claim him as nest-mate for the first year of his fully mature breeding life.
Frankly, instincts were a pain all throughout the mating season. Starscream had been Megatron’s main focus this season, and despite his need for independence, he could not fight his body’s need to reproduce with a strong sire. As Megatron was the biggest and strongest sire around, of course, he had capitulated. Besides, it was not like any of the Autobot dragons were willing to court him, even if he did fancy their carrier leader who, it must be said, was quite the rare catch for dragons.
Another reason that losing his first clutch was so agonizing was the way he lost it, to begin with.
It was not due to being in a necessary battle or even a fight at all; it was because he had stepped wrong on rocky ground while trying to find a sunny spot to relax on.
Just a simple rock giving out from under his feet, and he slipped and slammed right onto an uneven side of the rock.
While not sharp, the rock jutted out, and the impact was enough to cause catastrophe.
The next thing Starscream knew was Soundwave and Shockwave struggling to carry him to Knockout’s cave and then blacking out.
Of course, he woke up to pain and Knockout telling him to push while the healer pressed on his belly. At first, Starscream did not know what was happening, but the truth slowly dawned on him.
He was miscarrying his clutch, well before they were ready to come out.
“NO! PRIMUS, PLEASE, NO!” Starscream howled in pain, unable to do much other than what Knockout directed and his natural instincts demanded.
Each push hurt, and it felt like he was being torn open.
Finally, after what seemed like a journey through the deepest pit of Hell, it was all over. Tired and weakened, Starscream could not do much other than lay on the floor of Knockout’s cave, in a blank daze over what just happened.
‘After all, I went through and after all the effort I put into this… All wasted and gone. I even tried staying out of Megatron’s way and in his good graces just so I could lay a healthy clutch for him. Now it’s all for nothing, and I could even be declared infertile after all this. It’s not fair; this was my first!’ Starscream mentally raged and cried, fear creeping into him at what Megatron would think of him now.
His head snapped up when he heard someone say Megatron’s name. It seemed that the sire had come into the healer’s cave, and Breakdown had greeted him before Knockout explained what had happened.
Of course, Knockout’s words were only white noise to Starscream, who stared at Megatron in a mix of panic and fear, afraid that Megatron would call him weak and pathetic for losing their clutch.
Megatron only nodded when Knockout finished, then looked at his exhausted nest-mate.
His face held no expression, no emotion, and then he just turned and left the cave.
Starscream felt like he had been crushed under a mountain from that one look alone and he began sobbing uncontrollably. ‘I knew it! He thinks I’m weak! Not worthy!’ Ran through his head.
Slowly finding his feet, he stood while Knockout protested, squawking that he was too weak to be moving around.
Starscream didn’t care.
He needed to get away.
Snapping back to the present when the rain began to pour down harder, Starscream let out a sob before forcefully pushing down his pain save his inconsolable expression.
He knew that he was not alone from where he sat on top of the pillar.
At the base, Knockout was waiting for him to come down or talk to him.
Neither idea sounded appealing to the grieving dragon.
What is there to say other than, ‘I’ve lost my first clutch, Megatron obviously blames me for it, so now I’m going to be declared infertile, and no one will ever try to sire a clutch on me again.’ Starscream thought equal parts devastated and sarcastic.
“It’s natural, you know,” Knockout broke into his thoughts quietly. “To miscarry after falling that hard onto a rock edge like you did. You actually did well in expelling the eggs. If you hadn’t, then it would make things worse. You could have died,” the healer finished in a whisper.
“Wish I had,” Starscream muttered. “Megatron blames me, and the others will think I’m infertile. My first heat and clutch, and I lose it. And to make matters worse,” he continued, his voice rising as he shared his panic, “It was our leader’s clutch I was carrying. I failed to deliver him the offspring he wanted.”
“That’s not true, Starscream! You couldn’t have prevented either the rock giving out from under you or the way you fell. It just happens sometimes, because life is full of unknowns,” Knockout protested, furious at Starscream needlessly blaming himself.
“Megatron didn’t say a thing. He just looked at me and left. What else could that have meant?” Starscream hissed back.
“I know, and while I say that wasn’t the best thing he could have done, I think he just didn’t know what to say,” Knockout suggested unsurely.
Both sat for a while in silence. “Please come down,” Knockout begged.
“Why?” Starscream snarled, sobbing again as he looked at his now-flat belly which no longer held a cherished clutch. “Why are you bothering, Knockout? I’m a useless dragon to our clan now.”
“You take that back, Starscream! You are not useless. As for ‘why do I bother,’ it’s simple. I’m your friend, not just the healer of the clan. We can’t change what happened, or how Megatron reacted. But you have never been useless, and I doubt you’re capable of it now,” Knockout scolded sternly.
Starscream floundered, unsure of how to take that. “I will be after this,” he refuted, “I’ll be declared infertile.”
Knockout frowned and reassured him, “No, you won’t. Since I’m the clan healer, I can definitely prevent that. Starscream, you are far from infertile. On the contrary, you conceived sooner than most dragons during mating and are quite healthy. Also, the way your body reacted during the miscarriage is further proof you are not infertile. If you had not been able to expel the eggs as quickly as your body demanded, then I would have worried about you having future clutches. Instead, you did fine. Although you being way up on top of that pillar after such an ordeal does worry me.”
“Will…will I be able to conceive another clutch soon?” Starscream asked in a whisper.
Knockout sighed. “Not until next year, I’m afraid. Unless I missed my guess, you’re now out of season. Though I can’t be completely sure, since seeker dragons are slightly different than the rest of us,” he answered honestly, before inquiring, “Do you really want to have a clutch so soon, or would you rather wait until you recover first?”
Starscream did not reply, and instead just sat there on the pillar. Knockout remained quiet, letting him take his time. The healer would wait with the other out in the pouring rain, because that’s what friends did for one another, and he knew that Starscream would have done the same for him.