Title: Our Revels
Author: Tirya King
Timeframe: Set quite a few months after 'Thou Art Too Dear.'
Summary: G1. Can you ever really forget what you just can't remember? Often the past springs up where one least expects it to. Often a secret too large for one person cannot be kept. Sequel and conclusion to 'No Longer Mourn' and 'Thou Art Too Dear.'
Disclaimer: Cons' eyes are red. Autos' are blue. I don't own Transformers, so please don't sue! The poem 'Our Revels Now Are Ended' belongs to William Shakespeare.
A/N: I apologize that this has taken forever and I can't promise that it will be all posted very soon. My own fault for writing too many projects at once, neh? Anyway, according to plan, this will be a three-shot and will wrap up everything from the previous two stories. I recommend reading the first ones before reading this, but it isn't entirely necessarily. You'll be caught up soon enough. I hope you enjoy!
The yellow warrior chuckled darkly. "So damn stupid," he sighed affectionately, nestling his head against his brother's. "You're going to leave me and you don't even slagging know it."
Sideswipe looked back up at the other Autobot, confusion in his optics. The tight grip he had on the phantom was released immediately. "Leave you? But I don't even know you."
Sunstreaker slowly released his own hold and stepped away with careful steps. His head was bowed, expression unreadable, but Sideswipe saw his fists clench and relax. "I know you don't, Sides. But it's ok." The voice was just as careful as the body, low and tight.
"Who are you?" The red Lambo cocked his head to the side, natural curiosity overriding any cautiousness he might have of the stranger.
"No one important. It's time to wake up now."
There was a sudden jolt and all the lights shut off, cutting off any response he might make to the strange comment. The mysterious yellow mech was nowhere to be seen. Realizing he couldn't see because his optics were off, Sideswipe turned them on, waiting for them to stop flickering. The dream slowly faded as he sat up, facing the worried First Aid and Mirage as he stretched his limbs gingerly.
"How do you feel, Sides?" he heard Mirage ask hesitantly. Already the dream was nearly gone and the unease it left with him also began to fade. But his head… his head ached something fierce, leaving him with a groggy, fuzzy feeling. And the strangest sense in the back of his mind.
Oh, by Primus he hated thunderstorms! Give him electrical storms on Cybertron any day with all the danger therein. But water… oh water got everywhere and threatened to short out every circuit in his body! Lifting a muddy silver foot, Bluestreak gave it a half-hearted shake, hoping to somehow lessen the appearance of a night spent patrolling in the accursed weather. Behind him he heard the muffled complaining of Tracks as he too trudged through the Ark's entrance, eager to be done with his duty for the evening.
"I'll tell Jazz everything was fine," the blue warrior informed him before stalking off. Those who didn't know Tracks might mistake this as a kind offer so Blue could get that much more rest. Bluestreak did, in fact, know him and also knew that Jazz's office was closer to the wash rack which was where he most wanted to be.
Nonetheless, the silver gunner thanked his night companion and headed in the direction of his quarters. He'd clean up later, what he most wanted now was a few megacycles of recharge before he had to be up and functioning again. Right now he was just too tired to wait for Tracks to be done with his hour long washing ritual. After all, he'd been much dirtier than this before without any major catastrophe.
As he walked, Bluestreak vaguely recalled his very first reaction to the large amounts of rain this planet offered. It hadn't been long after he woke up from his millennia-long slumber and the Witwickys were playing tour-guides to the eager and curious Autobots. Bluestreak had been traveling with Spike, Sparkplug, Jazz, Hound, Cliffjumper, Smokescreen, and a few others through some of the back roads of the nearby suburbs when it started to rain. Lightly at first, then continuing on until it was a full-fledged heat storm with lightning, thunder, and all that that entailed.
He felt his face warm slightly as he remembered how frightened he'd been of it at first. He'd never seen water before other than recent mere glimpses of the nearby ocean and lakes. They didn't have water on Cybertron, nor on many of the planets he'd been to before his assignment to the Ark. Oh he'd known about it, obviously, but only as one might know about a black hole or a nebula or some strange foreign creature. He knew it existed, and some about it, but not much more besides.
The others had laughed, of course, at his sudden fear of the strange substance coating him. Some more kindly than others. After all, they had come in contact with it before, perhaps on other planets. He, too, had laughed when he understood the situation. Now and then someone brought it up for a cheap laugh at his expense, and usually he laughed too. But that didn't mean he liked it much more than he first did. Especially when he had to pull night patrol duty in it.
Bluestreak paused outside the lounge, hearing the laughter from within. Deciding to check it out rather than continue on to his quarters, he had to smile softly at what he saw, his unpleasant experience from that night fading from his mind. The lounge always had something going on at all hours. Even if he didn't partake much in the activities, Blue still enjoyed watching them and their participants. He loved this lounge so much more than the one at Autobot City which often felt cold and rigid and uncomfortable. But here… so many memories were here with so many people in them. This one had life, warmth.
He secretly hoped the construction at the City took a bit longer if only to enjoy what had been his home for so long. Decepticons had tried to take on Autobot City again a week ago, much in the same fashion as before. Yet this time the Autobots were ready for the assault and determined to make their aggressors pay for every fallen friend of the past. This time no more lives had been taken, but the damage inflicted on the City had been enough to move much of the population to the Ark, which acted as the Autobots' secondary base of operations. Whatever sad memories might have come from moving back into a place where so many dead once lived, the majority of the unit was quite willing to return, the young gunner included. Yes the memories did hurt, but in a way, coming back allowed those most hurt to heal.
Currently, Sideswipe was sitting in the middle of a group of listeners, arms flailing wildly, as he reenacted some of his more dangerous stunts. His optics were bright and energized as he told the tale. One couldn't help but listen to him and be just as enthralled.
"…So then Galvatron just looks at me, right? And then wham! I slam my left piledriver right into the ledge and he gets completely buried under 5 tons of rock!" He slammed an ebony hand into the other to signify the mech-made avalanche, face animated with excitement.
The others around him laughed, picturing the scene in their minds. Bluestreak stood at the doorway, smile growing ever so slightly. It was good to have the old Sideswipe back among the living. It was a breath of fresh air in what was a terrible, rank war. Hearing his gleeful hollers as a prank was sprung on an unsuspecting bot made it hurt less to wake up the next morning. It made one less life to mourn over.
If only the price to hear that laughter again didn't have to come at such a price.
The smile faded as soon as it came, and Bluestreak turned away from the lounge where Sideswipe went on in his colorful story complete with sound effects and arm motions. The sound of laughter faded into the background as he walked further and further away. At the last moment, he turned left rather than straight on to his quarters. His recharge berth could wait a few more cycles.
The medical wing was empty save for First Aid cleaning up after a procedure. The bot who had undergone said procedure, Cliffjumper, lay in a deep recharge in the corner. "Hey," Bluestreak greeted softly, giving the somber CMO the option of pretending not to hear.
However, the young medic did look up, rag soaked in mech fluid slipping through his fingers to the operating table. First Aid straightened up to meet his visitor, a soft happy light in his optics at his having one at all. "Bluestreak," he nodded, speaking just as softly. "How are you? Feeling alright?"
"Fine. How are you?" If First Aid were human, one might say he had lost weight, or gotten pale. His features were drawn and tight, and he moved stiffly as though constantly sore. Anyone with optics could see he wasn't well, yet no one tried to remedy that. In fact, the less one had to see him the better in most opinions. He already had his brothers, they always justified it in their minds. He doesn't need my company and I certainly don't want his.
Ever since he had altered Sideswipe's memories in order to save his life, First Aid had become a bit of the Autobot black sheep. Others avoided him, going so far as to letting Swoop and Perceptor care for them unless absolutely necessary. They were afraid that he might do the same to them and erase or alter their minds. Meddle in things he had no business meddling in. The loss in faith hurt First Aid badly, yet he put up with it because there was no other option. He couldn't very well order them to trust him again.
"Me? Oh, don't you worry about me, Blue. Everything's fine."
Everything was not fine. But Bluestreak wouldn't bring that up if he didn't have to. The passive medic needed no more reminder that but for his brothers he was alone.
"So what brings you around here?" First Aid asked curiously. "Aren't you off duty now?"
"Just got back from patrol duty, yeah. It was raining the whole time and there was mud everywhere and you know Tracks, he couldn't stop complaining the whole time about how dirty he was getting and when we got back…" he shut his mouth quickly, looking sheepish. There he went, babbling on again just because he was nervous. And he'd thought he'd gotten passed that years ago.
If First Aid noticed the other's embarrassment, he didn't comment on it. Just chuckled indulgently and resumed wiping down the table. "That's Tracks alright," he nodded. "I expect he'll be by soon when he's done washing. He'll want Swoop to look him over for external damage."
Have Swoop look him over. Not First Aid. Never First Aid. Not even for a simple check-up. And Tracks had a distinct dislike of the Dinobots, finding them beneath his level of intelligence and grace. Allowing one of them to work on his precious body was out of the question But ever since 4 months ago he'd somehow found it in himself to allow the young Dinobot near…
"Well," he forced himself to brighten up, yet the dull grey-blue sheen in his optics neither brightened nor faded. "I'd hate to see Grapple's face when he finds all the mud you two tracked in."
Blustreak nodded. This was going nowhere. Simple small talk for two mechs who really had nothing to say to each other. But the young gunner felt bad about not visiting now and then even though he knew no one else would do so. He was in the minority in that he forgave the CMO for doing what he did. The medic needed a friend, and for all his many shortcomings, Bluestreak knew he was capable of being that at least. And it was this urge to do just that that gave him the courage to speak.
"First Aid," he started, coming further into the room. Making sure out of the corner of his optic that Cliffjumper truly was asleep, he took a deep calming breath to ease his tense nerves. "I understand."
"How could you understand?" the CMO asked in a sudden low tone, not even pretending to be ignorant of what he was speaking of. There was a hint of anger in his voice that Bluestreak dared to empathize with him. A tired resentment, one that he would not take further. He had no more energy to destroy a friendship he could not afford to lose. Even such a fledgling friendship as this one.
Bluestreak's words startled him from this dull anger. "Did you know that Ratchet blocked my memories when the Autobots rescued me from my city back on Cybertron?"
"He did?" First Aid asked in surprise, the unhealthy look in his optics giving way to slightly more blue as he became more alert. No, he had never known.
"Yeah," Bluestreak's optics darkened to a navy blue as he remembered all those years back. Back when he had been so young in both body and spirit. So long ago it seemed. "When they found me, I was the only survivor of the whole city, and even then I was half dead. The second I woke up in the med bay, I totally lost it. Nearly tore the room apart. All those images… I just couldn't handle all that happened. I don't remember much of what happened, but somehow Ratchet managed to knock me back out." He halfway suspected the late CMO of using that killer arm of his to bring the youth down.
"He wiped your memory chip?" Had he done such a terrible sin after all? Had his mentor been just as daring, just as willing to save a life that needed saving? After all, no one could contest that Bluestreak was so much of the life that made up the Earth unit. Would one among them curse Ratchet for doing what he did to save Bluestreak?
"Not entirely and not forever," Bluestreak shook his head, making First Aid wilt again slightly. So there had been a difference. The gunner continued his story, lost in his memories.
"But without any authorization from the higher ups, he blocked off the destruction of the city. If he didn't, my mind would have just snapped from the strain, that's what he said anyway. There wasn't enough time to go through the hoops needed for permission. He wanted to get me back to working capacity fast because if I wasn't given something to do, I got a little stir-crazy." He smiled softly at that, remembering how he had driven poor Ratchet up the wall while he was a patient. "Eventually, after I was enlisted for a while, he unblocked some memories little by little rather than all together. He and Prowl helped me get through the really bad ones. I… I never really thanked them for it." They were so patient with him; he owed them everything.
"He gave them back? Why? Wasn't there the possibility that you would have reacted badly?" First Aid asked, medical interest piqued just as much as his natural curiosity. A bit more sapphire made its way into his gentle gaze and his shoulders no longer slouched so much.
"Well yeah, but he thought I was ready for it. I think he even left some permanently blocked." He touched his head softly right over the deeply imbedded memory chip. "There are some things that don't quite match up right."
"I… I could unblock them if you like," the medic offered softly, waiting for a harsh and fearful refusal like all the others. He half-way didn't blame Bluestreak if he did refuse. Sometimes he felt just as incapable as the others accused him. What if he did something by accident and everyone thought it was on purpose? Not even Rodimus, who had kept the worst of the would-be aggressors away, would let First Aid keep his position after that.
"Thanks, but I think I prefer them blocked. I'd rather not deal with them if they're so bad he left them alone. I'm happy with my life now and remembering the past won't help me anymore." He smiled reassuringly at the slightly younger mech. "Hound is the only other one who knows about all this, but I thought you might like to know. I do understand, First Aid. Sideswipe wasn't getting any better, just like I wasn't. You did what you had to do, and… and I think Sunstreaker would be glad you did it."
"Thank you for trusting me with this," the Protectobot said, looking so much better than before. He had never expected Bluestreak to reveal something like that and he swore to keep that confidence in good faith. "If only the others thought like you do."
"Maybe someday they will," the young gunner suggested optimistically. "They need to get more used to him, it's all still new."
"He's not the same Sideswipe they remember," First Aid said softly, going to sort his toolbox more out of needing something to do rather than any actual mess. "They think I did something else to him too."
"Did you?" the gunner asked quietly, knowing the answer.
"No, no of course not!" the young medic insisted vehemently. "I just erased Sunstreaker so he'd forget his pain. That's all. I did it to save his life, Bluestreak. That's all I wanted out of this." How many times had he given the same argument? A hundred times? A thousand? And how many times had he been declared a heartless mad scientist who's only concern was body count rather than his patients' health.
"Then they'll see that. This can't go on forever." Bluestreak smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. The Protectobot looked ready to snap at the pressure he was constantly put under. Even First Aid's brothers had become estranged from their most fragile member, no more approving of what he did than the others were. But if not for them, who loved and protected him anyway, the young CMO might have snapped already. Yet not even four brothers could take all the pain away and it showed.
"Thank you, Bluestreak," First Aid said, genuinely feeling a weight lift from his shoulders. It was good to know that not all of them hated him. Even after everything life had thrown in the silver gunner's face, he was still such a sweet kid. Always wanting to help others before himself. The medic was glad that the war hadn't ruined this one too. Was glad that Ratchet had also done what was needed in order to save a life.
"You're welcome." The gunner yawned involuntarily. It seemed his berth really couldn't wait that much longer.
"Go on and get some rest. I imagine you'll be back to saving the universe soon enough. Medic's orders," the CMO added with a slight smile. Almost a real one this time too. Close enough.
"Yessir," Bluestreak mumbled out, yawning again. "Goodnight, First Aid."
"Night, guys!" Sideswipe called as he exited the doorway. An assortment of farewells came back from the lounge. As he turned to the soldiers' quarters where no others walked, the easy grin on his face melted to a somber thin mouth. His optics darkened to match the red warrior's sour mood and his broad shoulders lowered slightly. The enthralling storyteller of only a few cycles past was transformed completely.
Up until tonight he'd thought he was just being paranoid. That it was all in his muddled head. Yet now he was sure something was up. Something that he should know and didn't. He could see it in the way they treated him; how they sometimes stopped mid-sentence or danced around a particular issue. And the moment he thought he finally had it pegged, something came in to throw it all in disarray. Primus, he must have gone through a thousand different theories only to have each one shot down from one reason or another.
A serious battle a few months ago had left his processor a bit funny. He remembered that he had been angry for a long time before then, but after that battle where he must have hit his head, he fell all that hate dissolve away until there was none left. Perhaps that was why the others were acting so odd. They still needed to get used to the old Sideswipe again. It made sense; after all, he had been rather… scary back then. Some of the things he had said and done were enough to give even the perpetrator a shiver. He supposed a huge event like the battle for Autobot City and then against Unicron would twist a mech like that. Twist them until they were no longer themselves. But then why did his anger and grief begin over a month after those events…?
Bah, it just hurt his head to think of all those silly details! Who cared what he used to be like, what mattered now was that he was back to normal. Everything was fine now. That bump to the head was a blessing in disguise and he shouldn't question it.
Sideswipe entered his quarters at last, reveling in its privacy. Everywhere else on base there was always someone else. Being by himself was a rare but cherished luxury. Yet this room always seemed so… big. So lonely at times. There was no reason to feel this, yet he did all the same. It was probably just the fact that he was so used to being around others that it was strange to be by himself.
The hell with it, he was just tired, that's all. He always got like this when he had worked a long shift. Sitting back down on his berth he summoned a datapad from subspace and studied it. It was his shopping list for the next time he was on leave. The Ark's resident prankster needed his supplies after all. It just wasn't the same without Prowl or Ratchet to annoy, but it kept morale up as well as him entertained.
The next one would be good too; he'd make sure of it. One to shadow all the ones before. All he really needed was a way to raid the old collection of holovids kept locked away for posterity. Not an impossible task, barely even a difficult one. But it required perfect timing, stealth, brains, and a quick mouth if all failed.
The red warrior lay back on his berth still staring at the list. A soft curse left his lips and he sat up wincing. Oh slag, he always did that! For as long as he could remember, Sideswipe constantly forgot to remove his shoulder cannon before laying down. The myriad of scuff-marks and scratches on the wall was a testament to this faulty memory.
Removing the offending weapon so he could relax properly, Sideswipe lay on his back, holding the datapad up in outstretched hands.
It was then he looked up past the datapad and felt his spark constrict. The datapad fell to the ground as he stood up sharply.
There, on the wall about 15 feet above his berth, were the same scratches and dents that he left when his cannon hit it.
End Part One
A/N: Y'know, looking back on this chapter, I think I can honestly say I'm pleased with it. Sorry there's not much of Sides in this chapter, in the next chapter things move very quickly with him. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, please share them. It's not all done yet and I'm always eager for a fresh thought. Primus knows I've been mulling the same ones over and over for long enough already!
A/N2: In other news, I'm nearly all settled here in my school in China. It is absolutely unreal here! Very difficult, but now that the worst is over I will be able to really get into it. The food is great even though I can't have dairy, ice, tap water, uncooked/unpeeled fruit, etc. for a whole year. And the toilet situation… well, it isn't what I'd like it to be, but I can deal. I even got to see the Great Wall already! Thousands of little steps, but totally worth it! I've never been a minority or a foreigner before and this really opens ones eyes to it. Until next time, zaijian dajia: D