Author's note:

Just a little something I whipped up to combat a bit of writer's block with my other TF fic, Brainwaves. I always thought the idea of Rodimus Prime and Elita One could make a great guilty pleasure fic, especially in the post-1986 movie verse in which Optimus has died, and also because poor Rodimus has such delicious angst potential even by himself.

I haven't seen much of the G1 cartoon, and most of my knowledge has come from online resources, so if I have screwed something up and it greatly offends you, please try to bear in mind that I am only loosely basing this on a continuity.

Ideally I would like to continue this story, but I don't want to make any promises. I actually got the idea to do my own take on the Rodimus/Elita pairing after reading Serious Intent by Phoenix13, so, when in doubt, if there is something you want to read, try a hand at it yourself. Fic breeds fic, and more fic means more fun:)

Widow Maker

I haven't seen her since before he died.

She never came to see his body as it lay in state, or even to witness the launch of the mausoleum ship, although I am told she boarded it for a private visitation as it passed within reach of Cybertron.

I received no response but a politely worded statement of gratitude when I notified her that her position as Commander of the Femme Division was upheld. She never visited Earth, but her reports were timely and immaculate, and she performed her duties with the same dedication as always.

When he had been alive, outsiders would look at her and make snide remarks about nepotism, but anyone who knew her, and the way she'd held our forces on Cybertron together in the millions of Earth years since the Ark disappeared, could see that she was so much more than a presence behind the throne, forced into a prominence she did nothing to earn. She was, and always will be, a magnificent leader in her own right.

I don't have any illusions about how I compare to her. All I know is that the Matrix chose me, and I have a duty to answer its call whether I believe I am worthy or not. She does not deserve to have her name sullied by my lip components, or even by my thoughts, in their audacity of believing the two of us have a common frame of reference. Yet there is one, nonetheless. Like me, she is forever branded, forever marked, by his death. Even if, by some Primus-given miracle - for it would take nothing else - we ourselves were able to forget and try to move on with our lives, nobody could look at either of us without remembering what had been lost.

We are living monuments to his memory first, and individuals second: Elita One, widow of Optimus Prime, and Rodimus Prime, his successor; his de-facto killer.

I haven't seen her since before he died.

She used to visit Earth for at least one week out of every month.

I was usually busy chasing Arcee, but no one could ever be busy enough that a femme like Elita One would escape their notice. Everywhere she went, she commanded attention. She was so tall, so radiant, her elegant red, pink and white frame projecting so much raw power and confidence that even her strange head components - which would have appeared ridiculous on anyone else - seemed as regal as any crown.

Arcee would pout playfully whenever she noticed my distraction, but it never seemed to seriously jeopardize our flirtations, especially since I channelled any latent enthusiasm for my leader's mate straight back in the younger femme's direction. She knew as well as I did that Elita was so far out of my league that I would have had better success courting a Decepticon, and it would have been the same dismal luck for any mech, since Elita only had optics for Optimus.

Not that anyone would have dreamed of getting between them.

Their story was the closest thing we Autobots had to a fairytale. They were built for each other, some said, out of the broken frames of two long ago lovers who had been on the wrong end of Megatron's fearsome fusion cannon, built to lead as one, love as one. It was a love that had survived a separation of such magnitude that entire civilizations, entire worlds had risen and fallen in the interim.

I still remember how happy they looked together, how relaxed Optimus was whenever she visited, and for days after she left, the burdens of leadership falling away to reveal hints of the mech he must have been before the wars. Walking by Optimus' quarters late in the recharge cycle, when most of the other bots were offline, I would sometimes hear the muffled sounds of their passion seeping through the door, and I would retire to my own recharge berth, trembling with need, not just for the mechanics of satisfaction with the closest convenient partner, as some would have said of me, but to actually be touched by another, to touch them in return.

Arcee never seemed to be around when I really needed her, but it never occurred to me... I thought there would be time, plenty of time, and enjoyed the building of tension between us, figuring that when we finally took the next step it would be all the sweeter. I was proud of myself for not rushing into interfacing, even though I really wanted to experience it. I might have been hot-headed Hot Rod, but I thought I was so smart, I thought I knew so much.

I thought I could take on the world, but when I tried, I lost. We all lost. Oh Primus, we lost so much...

And I am left here, alone, to do my penance.

Arcee, who in the back of my processor had already been cast as the one I wanted by my side, Elita to my Optimus - never dreaming that it would be so close to the truth - was even more intimidated by the burden of my leadership than I was, and sought solace in the arms of Springer. Not that I blame her. She's still so young, and I have become ancient before my time.

I wish them well, but I envy them sometimes, for their quiet comfort in each other. I have no one. I should have made my move before, maybe if there had been more between us she would have stayed, would have at least tried... There is no more sweet anticipation for me now, only the desolation of empty years of solitary service spread before me with no way out. No one dares to approach the Prime.

I wonder if it will be the same for Elita. Will she long for company when her grief is past, only to find that no one dares to profane what Optimus Prime once touched? No, not Elita One. I somehow know that if she wants something, she will find a way to make it hers. She would not seek to find a replacement for Optimus, of course, because a loved one is irreplaceable, but there was potential for solace, if she could bring herself to consort with lesser mechs.

I let Arcee go to Springer without a fight. I won't claim I didn't mourn what might have been, but I also felt a sad sort of relief when I realized that it was over between us.

And now I seethe at the mere idea of some future unknown mech touching a femme I never had any claim to, for, despite my leadership, I am the least of all the lesser mechs there are. I could never hope to deserve her, I could never deserve the hope that she might overlook that.

I haven't seen her since before he died.

I was beginning to be glad, thinking that maybe time and distance and the memory of him would hold us apart indefinitely like the repulsion fields from two magnets of identical polarities.

I haven't seen her since before he died.

And now she's coming to Earth.