Summary: (2007 movie)Optimus Prime watches the sunset to think about the war and finds himself an unexpected visitor in which he can express himself to. One shotSoldier
A Fanfic by: Tsuki
A large red and blue robot sighed deeply as he gazed at the sunset that was turning the sky into a light shade of pink mixed with blue. A depressed look glazed over his optics as his mind wandered through the vast memories he had, and of various plans he had for his troops. If he did not have his faceplate he would be shown with a deep frown, one that belonged to someone who had gone through much and suffered great loss.
As the leader of his army, that seemed almost natural for him.
He had indeed suffered many losses, all of which pained him when he remembered. He wished he would delete them, to rid himself of this misery, but he knew he should keep them. He couldn't just let the memories of those who fought by his side vanish like that, no matter how many of them died in his arms because he had failed them. They also served as a reminder to his failures; as ways to make it so he would never suffer such tragedies, and yet, nothing seemed to prevail. No matter what he did, he always suffered another tragedy he would burden himself with the memory of it, still, he would not let those memories go. He would not let their existence disappear and their deaths been for nothing.
How he wished he were not leader.
He wished this many times, more than he could count, but every time he would drive himself from such thoughts knowing his troops needed him and his guidance. He knew they felt the same pain as he did; loosing friends and even loved ones, or even becoming injured and having to live through the pain and remember it even though they had been healed. Still, it ate at him, driving him near to the edge every time, and yet, he somehow managed to keep himself sane. As to how, well, only Primus would know.
He set his attention on the sunset again, which was now turning the sky a deep red. With a soft grunt he leaded back against a large boulder and fumbled his fingers as he set into his thoughts once more. With Megatron dead, there would be no more war, and yet, deep down, he felt there was still much left undone. He knew some of the Decepticons had survived, even if he had no proof, he could feel it, and with them alive, this world was not safe. This beautiful world would still be in danger, as would its people.
The inhabitants of this planet, the humans, were so fragile. A Decepticon could easily crush one with two fingers. They were so fragile, and yet at the same time; they seemed to be hardy and strong. The boy he had met, Sam Witwicky had showed him that, as even with Decepticons chasing him he managed to save his home world and managed to not break. He would forever wonder how humans did it. How they could summon such courage and strength even when death stared them in the face.
He was pulled back from his thoughts as he heard a small yelp of pain. He turned his optics to where the sound came from and found a human rubbing one of his legs. The human was old, at least by human standards. His hair was pure white except for a few dark streaks, and his skin was wrinkled. He was wearing what seemed to be a casual male outfit for a human of his age. When he had first arrived he had used the "internet", as the human called it, to gather as much information as he could, so he knew that this human was even more fragile than normal and could easily break. Though strangely, his scanners showed the man did not seem to hold fear, rather embarrassment.
" Do you need assistance?" he inquired as the man finally stopped rubbing his leg. The man looked up at the robot and scratched the back of head. He shook his head though as he slowly got back up, even though his legs wobbled as if they were about to break.
" I'm quite alright…" he replied eyeing the robot. The old man wasn't quite sure if he should trust this robot, although his demeanor seemed to show kindness and understanding. Still, from his life experiences he knew better than to trust unknown… objectsright away. He also had heard about a supposed "battle of Gods" in a city, and well, this thing seemed pretty darn close. Though, the robot seemed to notice and chuckled.
" It's quite alright… I will not harm you." The man sighed in relief and chuckled as well.
" That's good to know… Well then… I... suppose I'll be leaving you then…" he mumbled as he felt an awkwardness in his being. It was rather… odd to be talking with a giant robot. Sure he had his share of awkward moments, but nothing really compared to something like this. Of course, its not everyday someone meets a giant robot. Though, the man stopped himself from leaving as he gazed into the robots optics and noticed a gaze he knew all to well and frowned with a deep sigh.
" … But it seems you need someone to talk to…" The robot tilted his head, a human act he had learned about that apparently expressed confusion. The man walked closer to the robot and looked at the sunset as well.
" It's you're… 'eyes'- I suppose that's what you call them… They're rather mournful, and although it really isn't my business, I think its best to give you some words of advice." The robot gazed at the old man attentively. He had also learned that many people considered elderly humans to be "wise", although apparently their brain activity became slower as the body was slowing down. The man turned back to look at the robot once more before he began.
" People… and robots, I suppose, all have bad memories that we keep inside because we're afraid to share the pain we feel because we want those around us to be happy and not know the feeling of pain, but this only makes us feel more pain. The pain in those memories eats away at our will and some people find it almost unbearable living with the pain. Still, we don't share them, because we're afraid… But in reality, we need to share it, if only to save ourselves. Although we hate to do it, and we're afraid what others might think, we need to share them else, we'll simply fall into a void and stay there forever lost. This is why we must share these memories, no matter how bad, so that those that wish and want to help, can lessen the burden you bear… So, my mournful robot, if you want, I will gladly share some of the burden you feel right now."
He was without words, or even thoughts for that matter. This old man, who seemed to come out of nowhere, was suddenly willingly allowing him to speak out his mind. Although he didn't want to burden him, as he had said in his speech, he knew the man was right. If he continued to keep to himself, his memories of those that he had lost would eat at him and would eventually drive him insane, if not into a loss of his sense. He almost found it amusing; This human who he knew didn't even come close into comparison with the amount of knowledge he knew, gave wisdom to him that he could not even think of. He softly laughed, not at the man, but at an amusing thought.
" Although you humans have a such a small information capacity, you are able to speak such great words of knowledge I could not think of."
" Perhaps my words of wisdom can continue to help, if you'd like that is." The robot lowered his gaze, thinking. It was best that he speak what was on his mind, as the man had said. He could easily feel the memories eating at him, just waiting to drag him to that void. Still, and the man was even more right about this, he did not wish to burden the man, and yet at the same time his being yearned to do so; to rid him of any a little of his sorrow. He silently barked at himself to not express himself to the man, but his attempts were futile as he let his head nod in approval. The man smiled and sat down beside the robot, adjusting his legs into a comfortable position.
" So, what's on your mind?" he inquired, looking up at the robot, whom sighed deeply while closing his optics.
" Memories from the war." The man nodded his head in a manor, as if he knew the feeling. The robot opened his eyes again and continued.
" I… keep seeing them die- my comrades. I remember watching their optics go dark as they went offline never to wake up again. I can still hear their painful cries as they were shot down or worse… I remember the looks in their eyes of horror and pain. I still… see the energon from their bodies stained on my hands, and no matter how hard I try… I can't seem to wash it away… It hurts… to think about it…" The robot looked down at his hands, facing them palm up towards him and a look of what seemed like horror and sadness struck his optics, as if he were seeing the energon on his hands again.
" Yeah, I know what you mean," the man sighed, sympathy crossing over his eyes. " I lost many that way too. It's especially hard when you're holding them and know you can't do anything… It hard on anybody to loose a friend, but its even worse in war."
" … You have fought as well." The man didn't nod, knowing the tone of the robot's reply was not a question, but he did look back at the sunset, as if it provided a small solace from the memories.
" In World War II I was a soldier, a young naïve soldier just trying to fight for my country." The robot did not nod either. He had learned about this World War II when he went through the "internet". It was... a brutal war. It was almost, if not completely, like the war he was in, except it was human against human. Perhaps his kind and humans were not so different- they had all fought battles and lost many. He even thought that perhaps the humans had lost more; though he couldn't be sure as the amount of Transformer lost he didn't dare count.
" I was… No. I am the leader of my soldiers, and much like you, we were fighting for our planet."
" I see… Then, it must be even harder since you're the leader…"
" Yes… It's… harder than one can imagine having to watch so many die, and then still manage to keep leading them on… even though…" his voice stuttered slightly as he swallowed. "… Even though I know I'm really just leading more to their deaths. I'm just leading them to more pain and misery… I'm leading them to more painful memories to bear…"
" We are not perfect, you know… It is… inevitable that we will loose those we care for. We cannot stop those painful memories from coming, but it is possible to delay them… You must continue to lead your troops and give them hope never allowing their faith to falter and lead them to victory… and I must keep on living for those I lost, so I can keep their memory alive. Though, these goals can easily be weakened, as we find some painful memories come even though we have done our best, but still, we must keep going so we can slow the pain."
" If only your advice was easier than it sounds…"
" Then perhaps you should try something else…." The man stated, pondering slightly as the robot glanced at him questioningly.
" If you find painful memories come and weaken your morale and you find it hard to keep going, make new memories: memories of joy to soften the pain of those that hurt you. It does not erase those painful memories, and it shouldn't. We should never forget those whom we cared for, no matter how painful their leave was. Else, they're lives were lived for nothing." The robot's eyes softened a little, recalling the happy memories he had, and found they did lessen the pain, a little. The two watched the sunset again, creating a small silence to think on what had been said.
To any stranger passing by, this sight would seem bizarre, a human sitting by a giant robot just watching the sunset, but for those who knew them, it would be a sight of two soldiers, hardened by war and ached by memories finding a safe haven for themselves. Although one had gone through a war that had lasted millions of years, and one had lasted about six, their pain was the same. The loss of comrades and the wearing down by wars gone on too long.
" Do… do you have anyone left?" the man suddenly asked, recalling memories of those dear to him. The robot nodded.
" Yes… Although I lost another one, I have three left… and we are awaiting arrival of anymore of our kind who escaped our home."
" That's good… I'm glad you have others to create your happy memories… and you might even possibly have more to do so with," the man chuckled running his fingers over a gold ring on his right hand. The robot noticed a hint of sadness in the man tone and looked at him.
" You… have no one left?" The man nodded and brought the ring to his lips, closing his eyes to remember whom he had exchanged the ring with.
" The war… took many away… Including my wife, Lucy… We had only been married for a few years. We even planned on having a child… but it would seem fate had other plans… We were living in Britain at that time… and well, while I was fighting in France, the town she was in was bombed. I got the news from my commanding officer that the town was bombed… There wasn't much hope for any survivors…" The man's voice came to a stop as he breathed heavily, holding back some tears. " And we were right... There hadn't been any, although I found that out after the war, and then well, the friends I had made were taken by the war as well…"
The robot stared with sympathy at the man. Although he had lost many it was over millions of years, while this elderly man had lost his in what seemed long to him, but wasn't even in comparison to how long his war was. Also, from what this man said, he had lost all his war companions and even his lover… He at least had some of his warriors with him, and, well, he prayed his lover was still alive.
" I'm… sorry for you're loss," he managed to mutter, but the man just shook his head.
" Don't feel sorry for me… I have long passed the time since I needed such words… or even deserved them. Though, if you must feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for those who will grow up only knowing those people lost by a number in history books not bothering to take in the fact that the number they look at is sixty million lives erased because they were unimportant. Feel sorry for them because they will just pass a glance at those books, and then turn their eyes away and forget that those sixty million were people and erase their existence except when they read that number again," the man finished with a sigh. The robot knew there was a deep truth in his words, one that truly did deserve being felt sorry for.
He did wonder though, how the humans could so simply pass up things that had changed the world so much. How could they just so simply set them aside like that? Then again, he supposed Transformers could do the same. Eventually, their memory capacity would run out and they would have to make space for more information. This would mean deleting the oldest memories and information they had. If his kind continued to live on long enough, even they would have to erase the war from their minds, and wouldn't that mean they to would be passing their war off just as the humans were?
" Yet… what's even worse… is those who lived during that war… find themselves forgetting it…" the man voice shook as he spoke. " … They find themselves forgetting those faces they held so dear- those voices they could so clearly hear so long ago, and even their touch… They start to fade away until we finally find ourselves unable to find their existence, and yet, you can still feel their pain, although now you don't know who's it is or why you feel it… I wonder… Why… is life so cruel?"
The robot was amazed at the elderly man's strength, as his face remained unstained by tears. If did not have the chance of crushing the man with his large hand he would have gently pat him on the shoulder, to show he understood, but he could not. He could only sit and watch with sympathy as the man mourned over his own losses. They entered silence once more, both thinking of something else to say, either to share their words or simply comfort one another.
The robot actually felt rather, happy. Happy that he could help the old man allowed him to burden some of his pain, and that the old man would help him with his own pain. He had truly not expected such kindness from someone, especially not an elderly man. If he had not been hiding his face behind his faceplate he would be smiling, slightly. It felt, nice, to have someone to speak his mind to. It helped him to take a step away from the void and find his sanity fully intact again. He secretly thanked the man for giving him a small sanctuary for himself.
Though, this feeling of safety left him as his sensors felt a change in the man as he clutched his chest, right over his heart. He began to cough hoarsely and felt his body exploded in pain. He held back a gasp of pain with all his might as he continued to try and breathe. The robot's optics flashed with fear as he leaned a hand towards the man. He scooped him up gently and brought him close to his face, trying to figure out what was wrong. The man coughed again and removed his hand from his chest, his breathing turning into gasps for air. He looked at the robot and saw the fear in his eyes.
" Do… not worry…" He gasped. " My body… had just become… too weak." The robot still did not loose his worried expression.
" Is there nothing I can do?" he asked, his eyes pleading for a way to save the man.
" Forgive me…. My time is nearly up…" the man's breathing was beginning to act normally, no longer gasp, but the robot could feel his body weaken more. " I'm.. a little regretful actually… Because… I know when I finally go… Those memories of those people are going to die with me… and their existence will be forgotten…" The man then laughed, or at least tried to. " You know… even though we've been talking… we never introduced ourselves."
" I am called Optimus Prime." The man smiled.
" And I am Frank, but my friends called me BulletProof…. Optimus… Can you turn me towards the sunset? I always wished to watch it as I left." The robot reluctantly did so and turned the man in his hand so that he could face the sunset while leaning against his palm.
" Is there anything else I can do?" Optimus inquired, his voice trying to hide its sadness.
" Yes… a last request…" The robot nodded and leaned his face near to the old man. " Please… Do not loose the memories of those you lost… even though they are painful… do not forget them… Don't let their existence be erased…" The robot nodded, as his sadness began to flow through him. Even though he had just barely met this man, he considered him a trustworthy friend, but not only that. He also respected him as a soldier, someone who had bested death in combat and managed to survive, and with them the memories of those around him. A brave soul whom carried the death of his friends and loved ones on his shoulders without even dropping a tear, where as many would have broken by now.
" I promise." The man smiled and they sat there watching the sunset, which was almost over. A silence came to them again, and it worried the robot. Sometimes the man's breathing became soft to think he had passed on, only to find him still alive. He felt the pain once more; the agony of loosing someone and knowing he could do nothing. If he were human, he was sure he wouldn't let a few tears roll by now. The one thing that had given him comfort in his memories was leaving. He cursed himself for being unable to do anything and even wanted to slam his fist into the dirt, but he refrained from doing so as he did not want to move the man.
Just as the sun was about to finally vanish behind the horizon the old man spoke once more, a smile on his face.
" You know, Optimus… There's actually a good side to those painful memories… Because… you know that those people in those memories are waiting for you… waiting for you to come to them and be with them again… It makes the leaving a little less regretful… Forgive me, my friend. I wish I didn't have to leave you like this."
" It's… it's alright…" the robot replied, his eyes dimming slightly.
" Don't forget me," the man uttered softly as he closed his eyes, a small tear running down his face. The sun finally set on the two as night engulfed them and sorrow fell upon the robot fully as he felt the man finally fade away. He kept the man on his palm as he sat there, thinking in his thoughts once more. With a deep sigh he turned on his communicator.
There was a mournful silence among the odd group of people as they stood before a grave. four humans stood dressed in black, while one saluted at the grave, honoring him as a soldier. The other four robots copied a similar manner, holding their hand in the salute position. They weren't quite sure why their Leader was holding a funeral for the old man in the grave, but they trusted him and would acknowledge the man's death. Though, they did have quite a surprise when the medic robot had told the other two, a yellow '08 Camaro and a Black Truck that their presence was requested for such an event.
The most surprised was the medic, whom received a call from their leader asking ask to what they would do to bury the man. He was unsure of what he as talking about, but when he sensed a sadness in his Leader's voice he did not questioned and hurried to his location, contacting the other two to do the same.
The humans had come as well, as they would obviously know more than the robots did. They had decided to bury the man in the place he had died, and that's where they stood as the sun was setting beside them. They had brought a tombstone as well, made from a special metal that would not erode for countless years, as had the box in which they had placed the man in. They had left the naming for the tombstone to their leader, whom wrote on it: Frank BulletProof. A Soldier And A Friend.
The group remained in silence until, at last, their leader released his saluting position and signaled them to do the same. The truck and the '08 Camaro transformed back into their vehicle forms after they had moved away from the grave, not wanting to dishonor the man laying in it. The young adult teenagers slipped into the yellow Camaro and drove away slowly back onto the rode, with the black truck with the army soldier, his wife, and his baby inside. Ratchet began to walk away, but was stopped as his leader grasped his shoulder, a little tightly. He looked back in concern.
" Ratchet… Would you… make a copy of my entire memory?" he asked, eyes facing the ground. The medic robot blinked, confused.
" May I ask as to why, sir?"
" … Just… please do this for me." Ratchet did not continue, nor did he want to. The look his Leader gave him was full of sadness. He did not want to further that sadness by denying his request.
" Very well…" he smiled, placing a comforting hand on his Leader's shoulder, whom looked up at him with a little of the sadness gone from his eyes. Their Leader glanced back at the grave before he allowed Ratchet to start the procedure to make a copy of his memory.
I will not forget you, my friend.