Scent of a Sideswipe

Obligatory Note- When I was a child, Sideswipe was a red Lamborghini and Blurr was an out-of-this world fast blue car. Times have changed and now Sideswipe looks like a Volvo with an ugly spoiler but Blurr is still a fast car. Set in Armada-verse. Result of stupid joke taken too far regarding Sideswipe's appearance. I own nothing and no one. Transformers belongs to Hasbro. No money was made from this silly story.

Lying at the bottom of a steep canyon, able to only see the dim shadow of the sky very far above, Sideswipe decided then and there that it had been a very bad idea to attack Tidal Wave. It wasn't the first very bad idea Sideswipe had ever had, nor would it be the last. All too often the impulsive Autobot was victim of very bad ideas that seemed brilliant at the time and only turned out catastrophic later.

Not that being stuck in the bottom of a canyon was a catastrophe, but there was a long list of places Sideswipe would rather be. The young Autobot wasn't alone in feeling this way, judging from the string of curses coming from somewhere to the left. Blurr was getting to be quite creative, stringing together several choice phrases that even Sideswipe, who had come of age on the burned streets of war-torn Helix, had never heard before. No doubt the older Autobot had determined that yes, they were trapped down here and yes, once again, it was Sideswipe's fault.

"This is all your fault," Blurr finally accused the younger 'Bot, repeating what Sideswipe already knew. Blurr wasn't exactly the most patient mech in the universe and the glare he was giving Sideswipe from behind his battle mask would freeze even a hardened Decepticon. "Here's a thought you can stick up your processor. Next time you decide to act like an idiot, do me a favor and make sure I'm on another continent."

If anyone else had spoken to Sideswipe that way, the young Autobot would have instantly responded with howling objections. First of all, Sideswipe's shot had hit Tidal Wave in head, something the other Autobots hadn't managed to do. So it had hit the back of his helmet instead of Tidal Wave's ugly but vulnerable face; that detail didn't really matter. Secondly, who would have expected the enraged Tidal Wave to blow up the whole mountainside in a gigantic temper tantrum, discharging enough missiles to result in an equally gigantic landslide? And who would have expected one of the lasers to hit Sideswipe in the chest? And thirdly, somewhere between the time Tidal Wave started firing at them and the time it took for the landslide to start, Blurr could have escaped. He had the fastest vehicle mode on land and could have easily gotten out of the way if only he hadn't tried to be noble by taking a wounded Sideswipe with him. The result was that both mechs were caught in the landslide which carried them down the mountain before dumping them over a cliff.

So now they were here, wherever here was, and Sideswipe was stuck with a very pissed off Blurr. A very pissed off Blurr that Sideswipe wasn't about to argue with.

"Sorry, Commander Blurr." The smaller Autobot apologized. "I won't do it again."

Blurr made a sound that could be interpreted as either a grunt, growl or sigh. "You say that every time you do something stupid. And I've told you before, it's not Commander Blurr. Just Blurr." He didn't sound as angry anymore, instead turning his attention to the cliff walls, looking for a way to climb to the top.

"It felt like we fell forever." Sideswipe remarked, looking up at the sky, not for the first time wishing on the ability to fly. How effortless some of the Decepticon jets made it seem, wheeling and diving through the air as if they did not have a care in the world. Jetfire was that way too sometimes. Maybe it was something all fliers shared, that carefree ability to let the world fall away, not letting it hold them back any more than gravity could.

But Sideswipe knew all about gravity.

"My comlink's busted." Blurr complained, examining the dented part of his gauntlet.

He had landed on his side and then Sideswipe had practically landed on top of him. He was lucky he wasn't banged up any worse than he was and immensely grateful for all the money he had spent on his heavy armor upgrades. It wasn't something any mere Autobot soldier could afford, but Blurr was hardly a simple soldier. His mercenary work had paid well and he was starting to wish he had continued with it instead of coming to this dust ball of a planet.

That's the last time I do Scavenger any favors, Blurr thought glumly to himself. Scavenger had been the one to contact Blurr, mentioning that there were Decepticons who needed a good beating and Autobots that could use his help, all the while forgetting to add just what kind of planet Earth was. Blurr preferred metallic planets like Cybertron where there was no dirt that could get stuck in rotors and gears and a thousand other places that left one with a spotted paint job instead of this organic planet with disgustingly primitive sentient lifeforms. Optimus was always going to great lengths to make sure they weren't discovered and Blurr didn't really understand why; it wasn't like the humans could do anything about them being here.

"What about yours?" Blurr finally asked Sideswipe, who had been too silent for too long. Blurr studied the younger Autobot with a critical eye as he stood up. Before they fell off the cliff Blur had tried to help Sideswipe, the youngest and most vulnerable member of the team. Not to mention the most panicky and the most annoying, though Sideswipe did have his moments. He didn't annoy Blurr as much as he did when he first arrived, and the older 'Bot had come to tolerate his presence more than he did most of his other teammates. Sometimes he even enjoyed it. Sideswipe reminded him of his own youth, a time almost forgotten under all the battles he had fought.

One day Sideswipe would be old and bitter, as did everyone whose sparks had been tempered by the War. Lives change but memories remain. Blurr would always remember Sideswipe as he had first seen him; a kid caught in a bunch of burned-out cables, hanging up high in the air and hollering for help. Sideswipe had also cried out when Tidal Wave had shot him and the terror underneath the cry had made Blurr leap to his side. When the earth beneath them shook, Blurr had held on to Sideswipe. When the ground started to move, Blurr kept his deathgrip around Sideswipe's middle. When the earth fell away Blurr still didn't let go. He had taken the brunt of the fall but Sideswipe had taken the most damage.

Sideswipe's armor was made of the typical low-grade alloys that low-level soldiers used for their armor. Unlike Blurr's expensive armor, Sideswipe's hadn't held up well at all. There were a number of minor injuries; both shin guards were dented along with a hip brace, one of his gauntlets had fallen off, but the most serious damage was to his chest.

The chest plate was always the most heavily armored area of any 'Bot or 'Con because it had to protect the lifespark. Depending on the alternate mode, a few large mechs could afford to have several feet of metal protecting their chests. Sideswipe however, wasn't a very big 'Bot and as things stood now he was in a bad way, for the shoddy chestplate was beaten out of shape, and missing several pieces. There was also a large burned lump of blackened, melted metal on his left side, a souvenir from Tidal Wave.

"Mine's no good." Sideswipe replied to Blurr's earlier question and Blurr caught the strained undertone to his voice. If Sideswipe's armor had been busted up this bad there was a good chance that the sensitive synthflesh and the vital areas underneath were damaged.

If he's unable to function…With their communication links broken there wasn't much Blurr could do. With time his self-repair system could fix the communication problem, but he wasn't sure if time was something Sideswipe had.

"What's wrong?" He asked bluntly. Sideswipe tried to stand up straighter under his gaze.

"Nothing's wrong, Commander Blurr." The younger Autobot said with much bravado before shivering slightly, a recoil reflex of strained circuitry. "My armor's just a little dented, that's all."

"Your chestplate is almost crushed." Blurr observed dryly. "This is why you don't go with the cheap alloys, Sideswipe."

"It was all I could afford." Sideswipe replied honestly. Sideswipe had, of course, stolen the armor off of another mech back on Cybertron who was dead and therefore couldn't use it anymore. At the time Sideswipe had nothing at all and so buying armor was out of the question. Stealing was all the young 'Bot could afford to do. At least this was how Sideswipe justified it, not wanting to tell Blurr the full truth for fear of what the older mech would think.

"Whatever. You don't become an Autobot for the pay. That's what mercenaries are for." It took Sideswipe a moment to process that Blurr was making a joke, something he hardly ever did.

"Better take that chestplate off and let me look at you, Sideswipe." He continued, knowing it was rare for any Transformer to remove their armor except in dire circumstances, but judging the situation to be rapidly proceeding in that direction. "Because right now, you're not looking so good."

"Weren't you a mercenary, Commander Blurr?" Sideswipe asked in a hopeful attempt to distract Blurr from the subject at hand.

"Course I was. How else did you think I got these upgrades? Not on Cybertron, that's for sure. Not much you can get on Cybertron anymore." Behind his visor his optics flickered as his thought processor shifted gears.

Sideswipe noticed and wondered what he was thinking about, what he was remembering. How did Blurr see Cybertron? Where had Blurr been created and where had he spent his early years? Was he a factory mech or did he come from one of the old families? Did he remember the time before the War? Or had he been born after it already started?

I don't really know anything about him at all.

He had to have been born after. No one Sideswipe knew remembered how Cybertron was before the War. It had gone on for so long that even the precise reasons for why the War began in the first place had been long forgotten underneath the names of those who had lived and died in its clutches.

"We need to see about getting you some upgrades," Blurr observed. "If you had better armor you wouldn't be so banged up right now."

"It's not that bad." Sideswipe mumbled.

"Sure it isn't."

"I'll be fine till the others get here."

"Sure you will."

"I'm just a little dizzy, that's all." Sideswipe sat back down on the ground, leaning against the rocks of the cliff base while internal sensors were busy relaying the message that something was definitely not right.

"Sure." Blurr moved to stand over Sideswipe, the sarcasm thick in his voice, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring down at the young mech. "Must be your processor got banged up too, cause you're making less sense than usual. Quit trying to be so tough and let me see what's wrong."

"You're not a medibot," Sideswipe muttered stubbornly. "I can wait for Red Alert."

"No. You can't." Blurr told Sideswipe flatly. "You got shot and fell over a cliff. You're in bad shape and our communications are broken. Who knows how long it's going to take the others to find us. I need you fully functional Sideswipe, and if you're not then I need to know why. Take off the chestplate."

Blurr was right of course and Sideswipe knew it. There was nothing to be done; Sideswipe's internal sensors were reporting more and more damage, too much for Sideswipe's self-repair unit to handle. Still Sideswipe couldn't do it. There was no way.

"I told you to quit acting so tough." Blurr was starting to get annoyed again. "We all know the truth."

We all know how weak you really are. Blurr didn't say that, exactly, but Sideswipe knew that was what he meant. It was true, of course. Blurr was superior to Sideswipe; excellent and exacting with his calculations, deadly efficient with his long-range sniper rifle and quick on the battlefield. If Blurr hadn't been such a loner, if he hadn't left the Autobots and Cybertron to pursue a mercenary career by now he very well could have been a high-ranking officer. Sideswipe had little or no chance of becoming an officer, or of ever becoming anything more than a simple soldier.

And if he finds out, you won't even be that. Sideswipe sighed internally, but there was nothing to be done. No more hiding anymore. Maybe Blurr will understand. But he won't. They never do. You should know that by now.

Red Alert understood, said a small voice inside.

But Blurr won't. Sideswipe hated this internal arguing.

With heavy hands Sideswipe began to undo the complicated lock system holding the chestplate together. The burned metal on the plate made the task much more difficult since it had melted together some of the locking mechanisms and Sideswipe lacked the strength to pull them apart. It hurt to move.

"Here." Blurr knelt down beside Sideswipe to examine the burned side of the chestplate. This close up he could see how bad the damage was, able to make out a few streaks of pale synthflesh underneath the blackened metal and, worst of all, drops of energon fluid seeping through the rents.

It's worse than I thought. He placed his hands on the broken lock and glanced at Sideswipe's face for a moment. The younger mech had grown silent and still, only the blue glow of his optics moved as the light behind them flickered. He was scared. Blurr had seen enough injured soldiers on the battlefield to recognize that look. Sometimes Blurr thought it would have been for the best if they had never been programmed for fear.

Sideswipe's lower lip trembled in a way that makes him seem very young before he finally nodded, giving Blurr the permission he had silently asked for.

Blurr broke the lock, snapping it in two I'll fix it for him later he thought while the blackened metal crumbled underneath his fingers. The metal groaned; no, it was Sideswipe who groaned. Blurr tossed the ruined chestplate aside.

And froze.

For a few moments the canyon was as quiet as it had been before the two Autobots had fallen from the sky. Sideswipe shifted slightly, staring at Blurr's face and wishing he wasn't wearing the battle mask. It would easier to tell what he was thinking without it.

The eyes narrowed slightly behind the visor until they were slashes of burning light.

"Sideswipe," he demanded in a carefully flat tone, "what have you done to yourself?"

"Surprise," she whispered.