It was raining, but Gears didn't care.

More to the point, right now at this time, he couldn't afford to care. Just three days ago, if he had been laying on one of the grassy hills that surrounded Autobot City while lying in the rain, he would have spilled out a string of adjectives to describe just how miserable he was. Right now, he simply couldn't. Right now, a part of an unusual trio of Autobots to be simply lying in the rain, there were other things on his mind.

He sighed inwardly. To his left, staring into the bleak clouds over their heads, were Bluestreak and Sunstreaker. Gears couldn't remember the last time he was near the two warriors for any length of time. In fact, Gears wasn't even sure that Bluestreak and Sunstreaker were often together outside of missions for the last several years. And never once had he heard them simply socialize. Of course, none of them were socializing now either. All three of them simply stared straight into the grayness above them, all but oblivious of the downpour that continued to erupt from the heavens.

Gears was finding it difficult to think. He was numb. The events of the last couple of days, the trauma that they had endured, enveloped him like a steel glove, not allowing any outside forces penetrate it. Where could he possible start? Every time they found someone alive, someone else was found torn to pieces. Grapple was dug out of the rubble of one of the command towers, where he had been manning a laser turret. Despite everything, the Autobots were elated that one of the architects of the City was alive and in relatively good shape. Three minutes later, reports came through on the outskirts of the city that Huffer, another of the city's builders, was found eviscerated by laser fire. Twenty years on Earth, and only one single serious casualty. Two days of fighting and there were at least eight Autobots dead in their city alone. Casualties on Cybertron and their moon bases were still unavailable, but considering the force of nature that just occurred out there.

Gears turned towards Bluestreak, lying beside him, trying not think about Cybertron's fate and those of his fellow Autobots. The gray warrior's face was unreadable, almost stoic. But Gears knew better. He knew the dual thoughts that were razing his consciousness. The first one, the one that was not very well known, was the fact that this was the second city he was a citizen of to fall into the hands of Megatron. Maybe he was thinking about his first home, about being the sole survivor. Maybe, just maybe, he was thinking about how this time the city was salvageable, that others had survived as well. Bluestreak tended to sickeningly optimistic like that. It was a front sometimes, especially when he was reminded of his former home, but still very much a part of his personality.

The other thought was focused intently on the shuttle. It was the first domino to fall, but one of the last to be discovered. Discovered by Bluestreak. While Bluestreak was not close to Sunstreaker, he was close to both Prowl and Ironhide. They were, of course, aboard the shuttle and this fact was one of the reasons that Bluestreak went with Inferno to try to dig them out. Gears went as well. It was simple enough to find where the shuttle went down. Digging it out of rubble was difficult part. Four Autobots worked for furiously for two days digging through the wreckage. While Inferno, Snarl, and Gears rested, Bluestreak continued digging. He simply would not stop until he had them out. He was sure that they had survived. He was positive. Gears closed his optics for a moment as he remembered Bluestreak's words after he finally broke through the wreckage: "Inferno, over here. I think I found. oh Primus. no."

Gears opened his optics again and saw Bluestreak looking back at him. His blue eyes, so dark and solemn moments before, were brighter. A hint of a smile formed on the warrior's face for a moment before vanishing again. Gears simply nodded, understanding. This form of nonverbal communication was becoming prevalent all across Autobot City. They had all suffered losses. While emotions varied upon the individual, they all knew, on some level, how the others felt.

As Bluestreak turned again to study the sky above, Gears glimpsed Sunstreaker. 'Well, almost everybody,' Gears amended. Sunstreaker was a special case. While there were certainly Autobots that had died that Sunstreaker mourned for, Ratchet being the foremost example, the one individual that the warrior's life revolved around was already gravely injured. Upon hearing of the attack on Autobot City, Sunstreaker jumped a shuttle and prepared to lift off. No one ordered him to come, and no one was going to deter him from coming. Sideswipe was, after all, still lying unconscious in the medical wing of the city. Even if Optimus had not wanted the warrior's expertise in the battle on Earth, none of them would have swayed Sunstreaker's resolve.

Because the medical bay was buried deeply and safely in the heart of the city, Sideswipe came away further unscathed. The data log resting precariously on the table beside his recharging berth had not moved a micron, despite the damage to most of the rest of the city. Another of the marvels that Grapple and his crew had built into the city. In spite of this, Gears could not gauge how Sunstreaker truly felt. He simply wasn't intuitive like that, not with Sunstreaker. Perhaps Ratchet might have been able to ferret out how the yellow warrior felt. Certainly Smokescreen could have. But Ratchet was dead and Smokescreen was among the missing somewhere on Cybertron. But Gears was certainly not alone in this regard. The only words Sunstreaker seemed to acknowledge were orders. He worked and worked, pulling more survivors from toppled towers and crushed roadways then any other Autobot. He was a model of efficiency. In fact, the only time Gears saw concentration like that from the warrior was on the battlefield. For three days, he did not stop except to check on Sideswipe as he brought injured Autobots to the infirmary. He did not stop until he followed Bluestreak and Gears up the hill that overlooked the city. And there he lay, the only other Autobot to grouse more about what Earth's weather did to his armor more than Gears, motionless in the rain, not speaking a word.

Gears turned again to look back into the sky and heard his neck joint creak as if it were complaining about the rain. Gears opened his mouth to verbalize his feelings and then stopped. He thought instead about the lifetime of death that Bluestreak had experienced in his life. He thought about Sunstreaker, who could do nothing as a being that meant more to him than his own life lay in a living death. He looked at them again, tormented minds hidden only by stern faces. Emotions so close to being stripped bare for the universe to see.

'They are the strong ones,' he thought. 'Now it's my turn to be strong. For them. For. my friends.'

Gears looked into the dark sky and said nothing. He simply tried to be a stabilizing force, a familiar figure that stayed by their side. He stayed strong.

The end.