dracoqueen22: (Optimus)
[personal profile] dracoqueen22
a/n: At last, the promised Mirage Origins fic. I do hope you enjoy!

Thanks to azardarkstar for the beta-work!

Title: Best In Show
Universe: TFP, Event Horizon
Characters: Mirage (Scion), Prowl, Bluestreak
Rating: T
Disclaimer: I own not Transformers, except for the toys.
Description: Mirage likes the anonymity. Bluestreak likes to compete. Prowl likes to win.


There is anonymity in chaos. It's easy to be lost in the crowd, barely distinguishable between one mech and the next. Here, in the tight press of strangers, no one suspects that Scion is anything more than he claims to be.

That under the silver and black paint, basic grade without a hint of gloss, is Mirage, heir to one of the most wealthy and influential clans in the Towers. There’s something to be said about anonymity.

Mirage just likes to compete where no one lets him win. He wants to be the best by virtue of his own skills, not his caste. He wants to be recognized on his own merit. He craves that affirmation.

Shooting tourneys are the best method he's found thus far. He's always been a fairly accurate shot, but once he applied himself, dedicated some time and effort to mastering the craft, he became exemplary. The next logical step was to pit himself against the skills of others renowned in their fields.

For a long time, Mirage – or Scion actually – reigns supreme. He emerges at the top of the ranks, so much that his frame becomes recognizable. Weapons companies approach him for endorsement deals. He politely declines every time.

He's built this reputation with his own two servos, and for Mirage, there's nothing sweeter. There's nothing that gives him a greater pride.

Until the tournament at Praxus.

He comes into it with confidence. The blaster feels like an extension of his hand by now, an extension of his very will, for all that it's not physically attached to his frame. Mirage cares for it with love, cleaning and oiling the metal whenever he needs to. He's been toying with the idea of naming it.

There's a new name on the mouthplates of the crowd, however. A low buzz in the back of Mirage's processor as they whisper it to each other. Mirage doesn't know this “Bluestreak”. Has never met the mech or seen him really.

He's heard the rumors, has seen how fast this mech has climbed up in the planet-wide rankings. How he's pitted himself against the champions of every city-state and can outshoot even the best of the Elite Guard's soldiers. Part of Mirage feels that this Bluestreak doesn't really exist. It seems impossible.

Until the tournament at Praxus.

To Mirage's completely bafflement – and mortification – by the end, he stands at the scoring board and finds himself in second place. Second place. And he didn't miss the top score by a small margin, oh no. He's fifteen fragging points behind this “Bluestreak”. When it comes down to it, the unknown mech scored three more pinpoint, dead center shots than Mirage had.

It's frag near unbelievable.

Mirage shakes his helm, turning away from the board, already hearing the whispers starting, the excited mutterings. The crowd, the fans, are surprised. Scion has slipped to number two? They can't believe their optics.

Frankly, neither can Mirage.

“I don't believe this,” he mutters, pushing his way out of the crowd surrounding out the score board. “Who the frag is this Bluestreak anyway?”

“A supremely gifted sharpshooter, if I'm not mistaken.”

As the question had been intended as rhetoric, Mirage whirls at the sound of the unexpected answer. An Enforcer is standing behind him, a curl of amusement to his mouth, elegant doorwings hitched high and tight behind him.

Mirage eyes the Enforcer, wondering why the mech had chosen to speak up.

“That's a given,” he replies cautiously. “I was curious, however, as to his identity.”

“Does it matter?” the Enforcer tilts his head, his gaze intently raking Mirage from helm to pede, as though inspecting him. “Does a mech's origins dictate whether or not his proficiency matters in a certain skill?”

Mirage has the suspicion this Enforcer knows good and well who Scion really is.

“Nothing of the sort,” Mirage retorts and draws himself up straight.

Word games? Please. Mirage grew up in the Towers. They practice word games for morning rations, perfected them at the afternoon refueling, and dueled for glory after the evening sip of high grade.

“General curiosity is my intention,” Mirage continues, stepping closer, optics cycling thoughtfully. “I'd simply like to meet the mech who has so effortlessly outshot me this orn.”

The Enforcer inclines his helm. “Eager for a rematch?”

Mirage chuckles, making a show of examining his long, slender fingers. “I am always interested in testing myself.”

“One would think you'd have had enough of that back home,” the Enforcer replies, and his vocal tone is heavy with implication.

Mirage is certain of it now. The Enforcer knows who he is. At the very least, he knows that Scion is not his true designation. He might not recognize that Scion is Mirage of the House Argent, but he knows that Scion is a fake designation.

“Or perhaps that’s why you attend events such as these,” the Enforcer continues, his tone light but his words somehow incisive. “It is amusing for you to be around those less fortunate than yourself.”

It takes great effort for Mirage to keep his reaction from showing on his face or in his energy field. He draws himself up straight, optics cycling down.

“I attend these events because the only true measure of one's talent is to test it against those who exceed in that particular field.”

He stares at the Enforcer, daring the mech to continue their game.

“Prowl! Prowl! I won first place! Can you believe it? That's not what I expected at all!” A gunmetal grey mech bounces toward them, one hand raised in the air and waving around the platinum trophy that served as his award. “The competitors here were the best of the best, and I outshot them! Think the Elite Guard will take me now?”

True amusement flickers across the Enforcer's field. Or Prowl as the mech's been identified.

“Congratulations, Bluestreak,” he says as the mech all but shoves the award in front of his optics. “And if the guard judged you on marksmanship alone, you know you'd find yourself accepted in an astrosecond. Your hand-to-hand, however, still needs work.”

The Praxian mech – Bluestreak – doesn't let that practicality dim his enthusiasm. His doorwings quiver with it.

“But I'm getting better. You said so yourself.”

“Indeed, I did.” Prowl's optics flick to Mirage briefly before he grips Bluestreak's arm and gently turns the grey mech toward the noble. “I don't believe you've met Scion.”

Bright blue optics cycle outward. “Scion?” Bluestreak's grin is near-blinding as he sticks out a servo in introduction. “Wow. You're the mech that's topped the lists for the past hundred vorns!”

“I am,” Mirage replies and gingerly takes the offer. “And you are Bluestreak, I assume. Congratulations.”

Bluestreak beams. “Thanks! I didn't actually expect to win so it came as a big surprise. I certainly didn't think I'd outscore you. Everyone knows that Scion is the best.”

Strangely, Mirage feels his faceplate heat with an unaccustomed modesty.

“Was,” he corrects. “It's an inevitable truth that someone better always comes along. How long have you been in training? Who was your instructor?” He can't help his curiosity.

Bluestreak's behavior makes him seem like he's little more than a youngling, but he'd have to be an adult to take part in this particular sharpshooting circuit. Even so, he must be a very young adult. Perhaps only a vorn or so into his majority?

Bluestreak's doorwings flutter in abashment. “I didn't have an instructor. I just sorta tried it one day and found out I was good at it.”

This time, Mirage can't hide his astonishment. He'd been defeated by an untrained amateur? Words cannot express his shock.

“I have been tutoring him on the appropriate guidelines and the more in-depth knowledge, but otherwise, he hasn't received any formal training,” Prowl adds, and if Mirage doesn't know any better, he'd say that the straight-backed Enforcer is smirking with pride.

“That is certainly impressive,” Mirage finally manages. “Natural talent is very rare.”

Bluestreak grins affably. “I still think I'd like to study under an instructor, too. Learn something intuition's not telling me. Who was your instructor?”

Mirage inwardly winces.

“Perhaps we could save this conversation for another location?” Prowl suggests smoothly, tossing Mirage a lingering look. “Over a cube of high grade?”

Mirage tilts his helm, scanning the Enforcer from helm to pede. “Are you inviting me?”

“Of course!” Bluestreak says before Prowl can get in another word. “There's a great place within a few kliks of here. I'd love to chat more with you, Scion. And I think Prowl would, too.” Here Bluestreak gives the Enforcer a rather sly glance that completely belies his innocent appearance.

This is not a good idea.

Logically, Mirage should turn them down. Prowl suspects and/or knows who Scion is. He may choose to use these against Mirage. Though in what manner, he isn't sure yet. Rumors of him gallivanting around the commoners would make his creator overheat with rage. As would the knowledge that he's testing himself against so-called “inferiors.”

It’d be in Mirage's best interest to bid his goodbyes, turn on a pede, and pretend he never saw the Enforcer or his youngling sharpshooter.

“Scion is probably a busy mech, Bluestreak,” Prowl says, placing a hand on the younger mech's shoulder, vocal tones heavy with practicality. “I doubt he has time to refuel with either of us.”

Bluestreak's doorwings droop with obvious disappointment.

Mirage's optics cycle down. That sounds like a challenge to him.

“On the contrary,” he insists almost brightly, tilting up his helm with defiance. “I have time to spare. In fact, let's make it my treat. In honor of your wins today, Bluestreak.”

It's Mirage's turn to smirk, but somehow, judging by the victorious gleam in Prowl's optics, he feels he's only sauntered right into the Enforcer's hands.

Well played. Well played indeed.

***


a/n: And Friday I shall post the last flash fiction. I promise! I'm also working on more fics, including two sequels to my Ratchet/Starscream, Line in the Sand and a brand new Ratchet/Red Alert. Lots of ficcage. :)


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