Author Note: To all of you who have read this story - thank you for staying with me to the end. To all of you who have taken the time to leave feedback, either by way of review or something as small as adding this story to your alerts or favourites list - this is dedicated to you. Without your continuing support, I would not be able to continue writing.


The Rest Is Silence

Epilogue

My future was my own, I had finally been free to make a decision and take my life in my own hands again. Skyfire had managed what I had thought was impossible; he had pulled me back from my madness, managed to heal me to a sane, if slightly unstable, state of mind, as I had been before that episode in my life. His was a promise of safety. There was surely only one sensible choice for me to take, and that was his offer of security and love. It would guarantee me happiness, a friend, everything missing from my life, everything I had been craving, everything that Megatron had denied me. Skyfire loved me, I knew that, and I was beginning to rediscover my love for him after so long trying to forget him. He even offered to leave the Autobots for me, so that we could escape to some faraway planet and live in peace together. Just the two of us, in perfection. Surely the decision had already been made for me?

... I left him.

I rejoined the Decepticons.

Megatron agreed to let me back in. I made a deal with him. If he would forgive me my deviance and give me back my command, I would swear to never again mention the illegal experiments he had carried out on me. All I had to endure was a swift, if brutal, beating as punishment for my attempting to kill him, and the whole incident was forgotten. As though nothing had ever happened.

It seems like a foolish decision, doesn't it? To cast Skyfire aside and flee from the happiness he gave to me, only to end up back in the cycle of lies and treachery in the Decepticon ranks. But it was my only real option. I knew that, even as I was sitting cradled in Skyfire's arms in that clearing. It was my only choice.

I was, and still am, simply not strong enough to break free. I do not have the courage to throw away a secure position, such as my rank in the Decepticon army, to chase a paradise that may be fleeting or that I may never find, and I have been alone for far too long, been exposed to Megatron and his twisted isolating law of "survival of the fittest" for too long to ever be truly comfortable sharing myself with another person. And I had been dangerously close to sharing myself with Skyfire again. If I had stayed... it may have become awkward for me, I may have ended up panicking and hurting him even more.

There was also the added complication of my new personality. In the past, I would have leapt at the chance to live a quiet life with Skyfire, but that was not me anymore. I am ambitious and power-hungry; I can not sit still in a single place for any great length of time. Going with Skyfire to a planet where there was no war probably sounds like paradise to peace-lovers, but it would only have succeeded in making me antsy and unsettled. I would have ended up spoiling for a fight, to destroy, and I would have probably taken that frustration out on my closest friend. So I rebuked him, I discarded him, I threw him aside one last time. I did so very harshly, so that when he looked at me, it would only be with hatred, or disappointment, or hurt. Any of those. Just so long as he no longer looked at me with a gaze full of love and adoration, it would be ok. Why would I do such a thing? Because...

Because he had finally worked out what that extra circuit in my spark had affected. He is... such an amazing scientist. It didn't take him long at all. He found what Megatron had done to me, and he told me as gently as he could. And after that, I found that I did not have the strength to love him - or, more accurately, the strength to lose him.

You see... my spark had mutated. We knew this. I thought that all it had done was to emphasise the loss of sanity I had suffered since my depression after losing him. I was... I could not have been more wrong. It had mutated in such a way that it could no longer be destroyed; I was, all of a sudden, an immortal being. Even if my body should disintegrate, my soul would live on.

It sounds like a blessing, doesn't it? It should have been. Perhaps it was, in the first few seconds after Skyfire told me. It meant that I no longer had to be afraid of death, so I could surely continue trying to dethrone Megatron without fear of his terminating me.

But... what of my loved one? What of Skyfire? He would still pass away. Over time, his body would crumble and his spark would fade away, and I... would be left alone. Dealing with the grief of losing Skyfire before had seriously unhinged me, and had led to a series of events that had driven me almost completely insane - and I had only had to cope for a couple of weeks before meeting Megatron. Before getting pulled into that all-consuming web of lies that almost destroyed me. How could I deal with that same grief for an eternity of existance? The very thought of it chilled me to the core, and I knew, if I had stayed with Skyfire, I would have had to cope with that upon his death. Even if we had shared many happy millennia together, I would have had to cope with that. It... would have torn me apart.

So I ruthlessly quashed my feelings for him before they could grow any stronger.

... If I have one regret about that episode in my life, it is that I involved Skyfire. He did not deserve it. He didn't deserve that from anyone, let alone from me. He has given me more help over the years than any other robot I know, and I have in turn treated him more harshly and with more contempt than I have given any of my enemies. I wouldn't be surprised if he despises me now. Of all those who do hate me, who do wish me dead, he is the one whose feelings are most justifiable. But sometimes... Sometimes I wish that I could have had the perfect life he had planned for us, and I see his kind face in my thoughts... and I smile.

I see him sometimes. Every now and then. On the battlefield. He ignores me. It is as though I no longer exist to him. I... can cope with that. He is hurting, I accept that. And it is all my fault. All his pain is my fault. I thought he might hate me, but that is not in his character, not really. So I wonder if some part of him still thinks I can be redeemed. I wonder if he would ever try to rescue me again, if he would still be willing to sacrifice everything if it had a chance of helping me find happiness for just one day - but I know that, even if he did, I could never go with him. It would be too complicated. But I see him on the battlefield, every now and then, and I am by his side, even though we are now mortal enemies. Even when we are surrounded by gunfire and trying to kill each other, if I am by his side then that is enough for me. That is all that matters. That I am by his side. It is all I could want, all I could deserve.

In the end, nothing changed. I uncovered a truth about myself that was horrifying and for a while I lost myself to revenge... but that is behind me. Life goes on. Time continues to pass, as it always must. At the time, I thought it was a life-changing revelation. I thought that I was finally leaving the Decepticons to be my own person again. To chase my own happiness. It should have been a life-changing revelation. But, in the end, it changed nothing. Everything is the same as it was before. It is as though nothing happened, as though I had never left.

It is... an empty existance. It is not happy, but at the same time it is not a bad life. Days pass. In the same monotonous way, the days pass.

And... sometimes... when I go into stasis to recharge at night, I can see Skyfire. He smiles at me and he holds out his arms to me, and when I join him in a warm, secure embrace that now exists only in my memory chips... I am home again. The rest does not need to be said. No matter how empty this life, how many regrets I have, how much pain I have caused the only one who ever loved me for what I was instead of what I could be... in those moments of imagined, phantom contact, I find my peace. Nothing changes, but I am home again.

Megatron is calling for me... I must go.

Perhaps, some day, I will find a way to destroy my spark and reach death. Hopefully, it will be soon. It is not that I wish for termination - I am far too proud for that, and I still fear the unknown, I fear what happens to souls after they die. But I do long for mortality, to be a destructable being again. Because then I might be able to go to Skyfire, to love him and then to die with him. I would not have to continue without him when he was gone. We could have our perfect friendship - if he would still accept me, after all I have done. Perhaps.

I am a Decepticon warrior. That has not changed. I am a Decepticon warrior and when Megatron calls for me, I go to him, and I fight for him. Megatron has a power over me that I cannot understand. But it is Skyfire and not Megatron who holds my home in his arms and my love in his heart.

The rest... is silence.