Authors note: I remember how I used to wonder what it must have been like to be in the situation of Rodimus Prime. I remember being especially intrigued by the episode "Burden Hardest to Bear," where Rodimus was found all alone standing next to a statue of Optimus Prime carrying on a private conversation that only he knew about. So, this story was written to elaborate on the internal conflict Rodimus might have been facing during that time period of his early life as leader. This story has the F word in it toward the bottom of the story, so if you get offended by the F word, maybe you might want to reconsider reading this fic.

Personal Disclaimer: I don't own the Transformers and I never will.

Rodimus found himself sitting at his usual haunt again, next to the humongous statue that overlooked the central square. The statue was erected as a memorial to their late fallen leader, Optimus Prime. With his head bowed he sat and thought to himself again the turn of events that shaped his destiny. Waves of guilt still surged inside of him, still, even to this day, it still surged. He tried as much as he could to suppress it, but it flooded him anyway.

He felt lonely. He felt angry. He felt . . . jumbled, yes, jumbled was more of the word he thought best described it; a big mess of emotions that paraded inside his mind looking for escape, but would not come.

He found himself sitting at his usual haunt again and he laughed. For some reason, it brought him some stupid comfort. Though Optimus was not present in body any longer, his spirit lived on. Rodimus meditated on this thought, but found it a hard thought to hold, because of his need of him. Rodimus needed his counsel and his wisdom more desperately now than ever before.

Evil abounded more ruthlessly it seemed, with every passing day, and he wondered if his trials were harder than what Optimus ever faced. He then felt surprised at himself, what a blasphemous thought! How did he really know all that has ever happened to Optimus during his long career as leader of the Autobots? How arrogant for himself to think that his troubles were worse compared to his predecessor. He felt the sting of anger flood his heart again. Then why was it so hard for him to think about what Optimus would do in his situation? He clenched his fist.

He secretly wondered if Optimus really forgave him. It was his secret fear he kept hidden deep within himself. He also wondered if he were really even chosen at all. That was his worst fear. Why did he jump? Why did he try to tackle Megatron at the most critical point of battle? WHY DID HE DO IT!!!!


He acted on fluke impulse, and it changed his entire destiny.

What if he hadn't jumped? What if he had heeded Kup's warning and allowed the battle to take it course? What would have happened? Would Optimus still be alive? Of course he would! He would still be alive, and Megatron would be dead. Unicron's defeat would have come from the hands of the greatest Transformer that ever lived, not by a stupid young kid who relies on impulse to save the day.

He thought maybe it was sheer luck when he handled the Matrix when he did. "Sheer luck!" He told himself. He wasn't chosen, he mused; he was just the lucky random guy who grabbed it when he did. Just like winning the lottery. A random fluke. Why did the Matrix activate its power that day? It wasn't because of him at all! It activated because there was no other Autobot standing around at that time! He was just at the right place at the right time, and the Matrix made due with what it had. It turned a happy, relaxed, carefree, Bot into the restless, depressed, angry robot he was right now.

It was at times like this when he thought the whole incident was the perfect revenge from Optimus. It was at these soul searching moments when he didn't feel forgiven. It was in these moments he wanted to sarcastically look up at the statue and say, "Thanks a lot Optimus! Thank you for screwing up my life!" He felt the surge of guilt again. What was he saying? At least he had life, unlike his former commander, whom he helped to snuff out with one impulsive urge.

His thoughts turned to Ultra Magnus. "Oh God, what have I done!" he thought in shock. Optimus picked Ultra Magnus as the new leader, not him! It should've been Ultra Magnus to open the Matrix that day! He's the one truly deserving of it! He then felt guilty that he never once thought about giving it to him after the battle with Unicron. Optimus and Ultra Magnus were good friends. They understood one another, respected one another, but Hot Rod stayed as far away from his former commander as possible. The Bot made him nervous! He remembered that during his entire stay on Earth before Optimus' death, he probably said less than fifty words to him. He remembered how he was invited to attend parties designed by Optimus to get to know his new recruits better, but declining them. He had better things to do, he'd say, then drive off and forget all about it. Now more than ever he wished he could go back to change that.

In his private mental fantasies, he saw himself flying down the earthen roads as Hot Rod, driving 150 MPH looking for some trouble to get into. There was nothing better than the wind stinging against his body, daring him to drive faster. All of that is now gone, and he mourned that also as he sat at his usually haunt. Could anybody possibly understand his pain? No, no one, he told himself, then felt himself die inside.

Then one night in his pain, Rodimus had a dream. He saw himself walking in green-blue color surroundings, like walking over an ocean. Then Optimus walked toward him.

"Optimus! Could it be?" He wanted to embrace him, and he also wanted to run away.

In his pain he forced himself to look at his leader, but peace he did not find. Optimus looked the same as in life, completely whole, and with that same damn compassionate look on his face. Rodimus looked away, he felt so much shame. "Why had he come to me again? What was he trying to say?" Before he could shut the image out, Optimus spoke to him and he jumped.

"What? What did he say? Was he calling my name? Yes! Yes! He spoke, but what did he say?"

"You are exactly where you are supposed to be, Rodimus." He spoke softly.

"No! No! Shut up! I'm not where I'm supposed to be! And worst of all, you're not where you're supposed to be!"

"You are the chosen one, Rodimus. You were meant to be the new leader."

"How can that be! I'm imagining it all!" Rodimus covered his face.

"You were chosen for a purpose, Rodimus."

"You're lying! You're just saying that!"

"You must believe in yourself."

"But I don't do anything right Optimus! I just make bigger messes as I go along. It's like I stumble around in darkness!"

"You are the new hope of our people now."

"I can't see how that's possible!"

"I see you in your pain," Optimus said.

Instead of bring comfort to Rodimus, Optimus' words aggravated the anger that he hid deep inside.

"How can you sit there and tell me about my pain? Huh? Let me tell you about MY pain, I used to have friends Optimus! They used to actually talk to me; I knew their problems; I knew the secret things they did that nobody else knew about; I use to hang out with them and understand where they were coming from; but now they are afraid of me! My closest friends don't even know how to approach me now; some can't even look me in the optic. It's like they see in me some sort of God or something! Well, I'm not! I know how they think because I was once in their very shoes! They believe I can't relate to them anymore, and that I don't have anymore problems because I have the Matrix, well, I DO! I used to have a place to go, I used to fit in! I knew all the gossip, and what kills me the most is that I know that behind my back my friends are talking about me! ABOUT ME!"

"You're telling me that I'm the chosen one, right? Well what if I don't want to be the chosen one, huh? Have you ever thought about what Hot Rod wants? Hasn't ANYBODY ever thought once about what I wanted! Well, I'll tell you what I want! I want you back as the leader and I want my life to go back to the way it was; but it can't go back and you wanna know why? It's because of me! I have to face every day living with what I've done and some days I could care less if it's the last day I live. I feel like nobody can comprehend what has happened to me, and look at me! I sit in front of a fucking statue looking for comfort, a FUCKING statue! So don't try to identify with my pain because you can't."

Optimus remained silent as Rodimus vented his feelings before finally crashing down emotionally. It felt so good to have gotten that out. It felt so good! How long has he held back his rage? He couldn't remember, but it was such a long time. Then he felt an eerie calm settle into his heart after his outburst. He hadn't felt calm for so long, it seemed strange to him. With his new found peace he regained his composure and spoke again.

"I don't know what to do anymore, I feel so trapped, and I'm so very sorry, Optimus."

"I know, Optimus said softly. But you will rise Rodimus; you will rise and attain your place among the great."

"Your faith in me is amazing."

"And my faith in you will never change. Now rise Rodimus Prime; rise and be the great leader you were destined to be."

"Okay Optimus, I'll try."

Rodimus awoke that morning feeling an inner strength not his own, and yet was in some way. He managed to face the morning for the first time without that sense of dread that used to linger inside his mind. He felt stronger now to face the future and he smiled. It wasn't a forced smile, and it wasn't planned, it just happened. It just happened and it made him glad. This is going to be a good day, he told himself, then walked out of his quarters to assume his duties.

He learned in his dream that faith was the signature of the great leaders, and it inspired him to give it a try too. So, little by little, one day at a time, he adopted the faith of Optimus into his own heart, until one day he knew he had attained its freedom; for he never felt the urge to visit the statue again.

The End

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