Author's note: This is the full tale told to Rusti in the AU story: Photograph, told in Prime's own words. Merry Christmas!
|Little Fairy Screamer
Once there was a fairy named Starscream. He was a little thing, barely larger than your pinky and not smarter than the light of the quarter moon. Now Starscream had a pixy brother named Ramjet who liked to wear a beeny cap and tutu. Ramjet was the obnoxious prankster of the family and liked to tease little Starscream. Of course, that always made Starscream unhappy, sometimes he even cried.
One warm summer afternoon, Starscream's and Ramjet's mother, Meggy, told them she had to go away to get them food because you see, fairies are hypoglycemic and need to eat all the time. So she flew off, her little wings fluttering pink and white in the wind. The little ones, the little fairy and the little pixy-"
Rusti had to interrupt here: "Whoa, whoa, Optimus!" Her little face expressed the most grievous seriousness Optimus had seen, even on the faces of some visiting diplomats. "You can't have both a pixy AND a baby fairy in the same family. They're two totally different creatures. Pixies are dusty and use their dust to fly with. Fairies are different."
"Well, Ramjet was an orphan rejected by his mother's second cousin's best friend's neighbor on the other side of the state and seeing how he was in such a plight, Meggy took a measure of pity on him, deciding he'd make a good target practice later in life."
Optimus' explanation came a bit too swiftly for the ten year-old to follow so she couldn't keep track enough to argue with the logic (or lack thereof). She blinked. "Oh."
"Anyway," Optimus picked up where he left off, "the two little ones watched as Meggy flew off for food. That was when Ramjet started teasing Starscream. 'You're such a baby."
"Am not!" the little fairy whined. 'I'm big and strong and fly everywhere. You just run around in a tutu!'
"Do not!" Ramjet pushed his adopted brother in the shoulder. That made Starscream upset and he pushed back and the next minute, the pixy and the fairy were locked in a wrestling match, rolling around their little nest, one atop the other one minute before Ramjet, who was underneath, bucked, sending Starscream to the edge of the nest. Now, while Starscream had wings, he really hadn't learned to fly just yet. But Ramjet did not care and pushed his fairy brother over the edge, sending the little Star screaming through the air until he landed on a tree branch.'
"Ouch." And here Optimus flinched, indicating it hurt the character. "Starscream was dazed a moment then realized he was no longer in the nest. He stood and scanned the area. The tree branch was too far below the nest for him to just climb back in and he could not fly. 'Ramjet!' he cried, 'you meany!' But Ramjet only laughed and sang naughty songs.
There came a whoosh and a thump and Starscream looked to his left and there landed a great bird, eyeing him with hunger. "Help me!" the Star pleaded. "I've fallen out of my nest and can't get back in!"
"You look good to eat." said Mr. Bird. "Maybe you'll make a good gift to my new wife, Frenzy."
That made Starscream cry. He didn't want to be anybody's dinner. He squalled and balled until annoyed, Mr. Bird decided against the idea. "Please help me get home!" Starscream begged.
"I think not." and the bird flew off.
"Who will help me get home? My mean adopted brother knocked me off and I can't get back up!"
"Ullo." The voice was very small and the fairy turned to his left where the big trunk of the tree rose. There, at a little hole in the tree sat a worm. He had on a scarf made of spider silk and a hat fashioned from a rose petal.
The fairy could not believe he was seeing something smaller then himself. "I'm Starscream. I'm a fairy. I fell out of my nest when my brother-"
'Yeah, I heard ya whining. I knows all 'bout the dilemma."
"Can you help me? Can you help me get back home?"
"Who me? Nah I'm just a worm. But I can wrap you up into a cocoon and next year you might come out as a butterfly."
The fairy thought it odd that he might become a butterfly but that was not his goal in life. After all, Butterflies were pretty, but they had few brains and could not create great war-time strategy nor did they have the capability to be mean enough to push other people around. And Starscream had delusions of grandeur that one day he would conquer the galaxy and be its ruler.
Rusti blinked again, wondering where Optimus got this story from. But she supposed it did not matter. It was a story-his story-and she asked him to tell it.
"No," Starscream decided, "I don't think being a butterfly would help me. I'd have to wait to change into a butterfly and that would make me late when my mommy comes home to feed me."
The worm shrugged in the fashion that all worms without arms shrug. "Have it yer way, kid." and he slunk back into his hole in the branch of the tree. Starscream was quickly losing hope of getting home. What was going to become of the little fairy? Would he remain here on this branch and starve to death, forgotten by his mother? That mean brother of his kept laughing about it and the fairy vowed vengeance.
Saddened, the little fairy finally sat down against the tree truck and pouted as he tried to think of a way to get home. By and by something else crept over the branch; a huge hairy spider. Startled, the fairy jumped to his little feet, weak wings fluttering in fear. "Oh, my!" he cried, "you frightened me!"
The spider blinked his thousand eyes. "We are all very sorry for the fairy's disturbance." It answered.
"We?" echoed the fairy. He glanced around. "But I don't see anybody but you."
"My eyes apologize for the fairy's distress. *We* never meant displeasure. Why is the little fairy out of his nest? He is too small to be out on his own."
"I fell." and Starscream pointed to the nest. "My brother pushed me out."
"Ah. A sad tale. For little fairies are tender when they are young and good to eat."
"But, can't you help me get home instead?"
"Us? Help a fairy? We eat them. We wrap them in our silk cocoons and drink their insides."
The thousand-eyed spider closed in on the fairy, one hairy leg at a time. "Our name is Shrapkickshell and you are our next meal!" But just as the nasty spider was about to attack the fairy, a large fat bumblebee zoomed down and landed on the spider.'
"AAAAgggghhh!" the spider complained. "Get off our backside!"
"You invaded my nest, evil fiend!" declared the bumblebee. He was very angry and started to bite the spider on one eye then on the backside then on one leg then on another until the spider, quite sore, danced about, trying to throw the large bee off. But only when the big hairy spider fell off did the bumblebee finally leave it alone. The fairy watched as the nasty, evil Shrapkickshell plunged to the ground below.
"You saved me!" declared the fairy. "You kept the spider from eating me!"
Quite pleased with itself, the bumblebee landed on the branch and cleaned its stubby little legs. "I was not happy with the spider. He came and messed up all my flowers. Now tell me, why is a fairy as small as you not in his nest?"
"I fell out and I can't get back in because my wings are not strong enough."
"Well, the world is big and dangerous and not a good place for a little fairy to be lost in. I will take you back to your nest if you promise to stay there."
"I do! I promise!"
So the bumblebee flew up and lifted the little fairy then set him back in his nest and flew away just as Mommy Meggy came home, her pink wings fluttering fiercely as she carried a lot of food to her little ones. Starscream was never happier to see her and he hugged her and kissed her on the cheek and they lived happily for three more days until it rained."
Here Optimus paused before adding: "The end."
Rusti blinked at him, having forgotten all about her project and the world around her. "Optimus, where did you come up with all the names?"
"The names?" he repeated.
"Oh that. Well . . . ancient Optimus secret."