This is a co-written piece between me and LandrayDepthCharge.
Movieverse, Rated R. Or M; for gore, violence and character death.
Barricade tore down the street, sirens screaming and lights flashing intensely, warding drivers ahead of him to get out of the way. Luckily for the Saleen, most humans on the road moved over to let an officer past -- strange as it was for said officer to be followed so closely by a lumbering black Topkick and an H2 ambulance. Barricade out-paced them, out-maneuvered them, and could out-run them, and knowing this he darted in and out of traffic, driving recklessly, twisting and turning as often as he could in his effort to lose the dogged team. Damnit, why couldn't they just leave him be?!
Ironhide's cursing, which sizzled through the communication channels, gave pretty good directions, though. He wanted the Decepticon't head for the murdered humans, the past kills, any damage and especially - for Bumblebee. 'Whatever you had done to him, slagheap, you'll pay for it tenfold', it came crackling through the waves, and as soon as they left the less populated parts of the highway, another plasma shot boiled the road into a bubbling puddle.
Ratchet stayed behind, though, he merely watched, hoping Ironhide won't need any help. He had radioed to both Prime and Bee, and they were closing in swiftly. The medic had his slight doubts, though... Bee indeed reacted strangely nowadays when Barricade's name was mentioned. Ratchet couldn't help but feel a little worried.
Barricade growled. 'I didn't do anything he didn't seek me out for later!' he roared back, screeching around the melted puddle of bubbling asphalt. 'Step off, Autobots!'
As if hollering at them would do any good. The Decepticon knew that if Ironhide ever caught him, he'd be a dead mech; there would be no cages or cells or incarceration. There would be no fair trial amongst his peers or even so much as a waiting period between his capture and his death. If that Topkick caught him, Barricade would die at his hands. The Autobot weapons specialist was especially malicious and did not tolerate crimes against the humans as the Saleen had committed..
"I'll step on YOU!" The next threat bounced back immediately, and soon, another signal joined the previous two - this one marked the leader. He was still far, but he was getting nearer by the second.
The landscape changed swiftly, the tables warned of construction sites and accompanying vehicle traffic nearby - though, those were surely abandoned at this time.
"Need any help?" Prime's voice reached the Topkick on the internal channel, and Ironhide Sneered. "I need Bee. The little guy is fastest, he could race that fragging son of a glitch in no time... we could end this quickly"
"He is coming," Ratchet mentioned, the unease intensifying in his spark. What if- But that didn't make much sense. Bee wanted Barricade dead, that was for sure.
The asphalt became dusty as they emerged alongside a construction site. The skeletal beginnings of the building stuck skyward in the form of sharp rod iron, gates and fences and concrete littering the area. Never the type to be put off but an offroad race, Barricade turned and plowed through a section of fencing and tore into the facility. Prime was close by -- going to die run run run -- and...and Bee was getting close too. Outrun them til he gets here and he'll stop them. Doubt flooded his tattered mind. What if Bumblebee...didn't?
Said scout was, at the moment, completely torn, feeling as if his processors were beginning to split into two. He wanted to be there, naturally, but constantly caught himself slowing down... He couldn't get that. He never wanted to slow down! Part of his was screaming for revenge, twisting in pain and grief, murderous instincts hollering loudly... the another part was in panic, no, please, I need him, I'll die if he does- urging him to stop the others, to save the Decepticon... And in the end, Bumblebee was left with sheer horror gripping his spark - He was an Autobot, who was considering to save a Deception's life. Or what was left of it.
The Camaro accelerated again, wailing freely to himself - he could understand Barricade's problem now... probably, his mind was just as jumbled up, as his own. "What should I do, Primus, help me, help me... I want to kill him but I don't want to kill him..."
Barricade growled to himself, bottoming out continuously as he sped over the uneven ground. Suddenly the ground disappeared from in front of him, and in a panic, the police cruiser slammed on the brakes and slid to an uneasy halt. The dirt had given way to a descending hill, at the bottom of which was the foundation of another building. Slag. Barricade transformed and turned to face his adversaries.
Ironhide's triumphant cry echoed over the site. The weapons master transformed as well, while Prime and Ratchet stayed behind, giving them enough privacy for a duel - but staying close enough to react quickly should Ironhide get injured.
"That's it, Decepticrap," the old mech grumbled, crouching low, huge cannons humming up. "End of the road. Your fragging kind will once and for all disappear from this planet. We'll be at peace."
He would not make this easy. With a rattling snarl the remaining earthbound Decepticon took up a defensive stance, ready to spring away in a moments notice. Going to die going to take a little bit of HIM WITH ME. Crouching, Barricade launched himself forward, scrambling low and with startling speed below Ironhide's immediate line of fire. The weapons specialist took a quick step back to re-aim from the shock of being charged by his smaller enemy, but by then it was too late; the desperate Saleen was already in his face, claws swiping and tearing and rendering anything he could get a hold of.
However, surprise quickly faded - and Ironhide was as good with hand-to-hand combat as with marksmanship. He threw himself back, pulling Barricade with, and rolled, to pin him down. "Nice try- but it'll only prolong your suffering!"
Back in the second line, Prime just reassured Ratchet, that Ironhide will be able to handle the situation, when he picked up the last signal - Bee's. The yellow Camaro pulled up next to the Peterbilt, and the leader noticed, that the slender frame was trembling lightly.
"How's it going...?" The scout's voice was trembling as well, as if he had to strain his vocalizer.
"Ironhide is dealing with the situation effectively," Optimus replied, keeping his sensors on his scout. "Don't worry, Bumblebee."
Barricade snarled and kicked viciously at the chest above him. One hand freed itself with a mighty squirm and dug, talons glinting, straight for Ironhide's face. Kill him kill him KILL HIM BLIND HIM MAIM HIM. Lashing out with ferocity, the pinned Saleen tore for the bigger Autobot's optics.
Only his fine-tuned instincts saved the weapons master from loosing half his visual receptors, but the talons still found their way into his faceplate, ripping off a bit. Ironhide cried out in pain, and blindly threw a punch toward his opponent's head.
"Mad turbofox, that's what you are!" he hissed, and rolled off of the Decepticon, trying to get into a better position for shooting.
The punch having missed by inches to slam into the dirt, Ironhide's opponent scrabbled back to his feet and crowded the larger Autobot relentlessly, this time deploying the gyroflail and sending it hard and fast for Ironhide's faceplating again.
"NO!" The cry echoed through all the channels, and Bee transformed. His hands were shaking, itching to shoot - and he realized with horror, that for an astrosecond, he considered aiming at Ironhide. He didn't move, just watched the fight, ventilations heaving.
That moment of distraction; Barricade drew his weapon back and in that single instant looked away, focusing on the yellow Camaro. His reluctant and hated companion who was more loyal to him than many Decepticons had been. In that single second, Ironhide got the upper hand, backhanding the Saleen to the ground, and at firing distance. Barricade stood shakenly, head spinning, but only launched at his aggressor once more.
Bee screamed again, just as the weapons master raised his cannon to finish the police cruiser - maybe that made him twitch, for the blast didn't catch Barricade in the chest, eating away layers of armor and extinguishing the spark - but still threw the black and white body backwards-
-- right down into the pit itself. Oddly fitting, it was; the Pit was synonymous to the Void, which could be equally compared to the human Hell in Transformer lore. Barricade fell down into the spike-ridden, razor-filled darkness that swallowed his black body whole. The impact was jarring, metal rendered, and with it came a sickening, bloodcurdling screech that had dogs howling a mile away and sent shivers up the Autobot's neural grids.
Bee screamed the third time, but it was not a warning anymore - pure horror and pain vibrated in his voice. He launched forward, only to be held back by Optimus. The leader had no idea, what could have happened, but he recognized the tone... and he had seen the same scene before, in the past.
"Bumblebee! Don't!" he commanded, keeping the smaller mech close. He was taken aback, though, when the scout's optics flashed on him.
"Please, Optimus, let me go, let me go to him, please, I beg you...!"
And the leader of the Autobots loosened his grip. He knew this gaze, and he knew that he couldn't do anything else. He just watched as Bee sprinted of, to join Ironhide, who was peering down into the pit below. Ratchet stepped next to Optimus; the leader shot him a questioning glance.
"I fear we'll loose him," Ratchet confessed. "I should have been more strict... I didn't want to believe that this could happen."
Bumblebee, not paying any attention to Ironhide's alarmed cries, quickly found his way down and among the metal cables and poles protruding from the concrete. Finally, he fell on his knees next to his enemy's body, to survey the damage.
Barricade arched his back helplessly, his head leaned back against the cold, cracked concrete. Heat and fluid bubbled out of his chest, where his tumble had brought him down squarely upon one crooked, jagged piece of rod iron. The metal itself was not normally a threat to Cybertronian armor, but with such force...it skewered him, inches from his spark, protruding grotesquely from the black armor. Barricade's ventilations were rapid and pained, vague wheezing coming from somewhere within his chest. "B-b.."
The little scout's vents hitched, and he reached out with a trembling hand, to stroke the spiked helm. "I'm here... 'Cade, dear 'Cade... Primus help me..." This was not like he had imagined it. He thought there will be a fight, much tearing and hacking and shooting, just the two of them. He never expected to survive it, either. And now... His enemy-lover was dieing right before his optics. Bee felt numb.
It was surreal; almost as bright and hot as his own physical pain the Saleen could feel the Camaro's mental anguish. This hurt the yellow Autobot, to see him like this, even when at the back of his mind he always pondered over Barricade's death. Words escaped the black mechanoid as he stared up at Bumblebee's hovering form.
The silver-yellow fingers continued to map the spikes and hard edges, and the scout's other hand found the Mustang's, and squeezed it - a gesture, which hardly ever meant something back on Cybertron but here, on Earth, it conveyed much.
"I didn't mean this... to happen this way." Bee shook his head. He was waiting and dreading this minute, ever since that fateful day. "D-does it... hurt much...?" The question wasn't as stupid as it sounded - too much pain could sort out a transformer's receptors.
He hissed softly, chrome talons twitching closed around the hand that had clasped it. The police interceptor lifted the other hand, grasping the warped iron protruding morbidly from the grill in his chest, grip faltering. So this was it, hm? This was the end of the line? The end of the pain and the feeling of lost seclusion and the beginning of...something else. Barricade didn't believe in an afterlife anymore. He believed he would die, his spark would extinguish, and that would be the end of that. "It..is f-fading."
Bumblebee twitched, and lifted the black hand, to rub his faceplate against it. "If I could do something..." He let out a long sigh, shoulders sagging. "I'm not sure I'd do it. I hate you, Barricade. You caused me so much pain... And you caused the same for many others. But ever since you promised me that you'll let me go, and I bared my spark for you... I cannot help but love you as well. I don't know why, this rarely ever happens to our kind, if it happens at all... But I'll mourn your loss until my mind would still be clear."
It was curious, the feeling of ones receptors short out into numbness. The soul-wracking agony was dissipating now into nothingness, allowing him only to feel the invasive sense of the foreign metal buried into his chest. Barricade's spark fluttered and blinked uncertainly, whining, reaching out for the comforting presence nearby.
"Say something, 'Cade... please." Bee leaned forward, close to that hated and beloved, black face, until their foreheads and chest armors touched. It was an awkward contact, the pole was in the way... But the scout was not about to shy away. "I wish... I wish this played out peacefully. If only you could have let go of your hate... Or if I had refused your offer."
Bumblebee filled his vision. With a warbling sigh, the Saleen S281 lifted his other hand and rested it on the yellow back, tips of taloned fingers toying with the joints to doorwings. So many times had he touched and played, though no pleasure were to be gained from this night. Still, no words left the black Decepticon's vocalizer.
At that moment, that kissing thing the humans did seemed so appropriate. Bee arched his back into the touch, soaking it up, relishing in it. The scout's fingers crept to the skewered chest, gently mapping out the metal for the last time, like so many other occasions.
"Are you happy now, 'Cade...? I'll follow you soon... wherever you may go. Maybe there... the pain won't matter."
"F-follow me?" came the questioning warble. His systems were shutting down rapidly now. "What do you mean?"
"To death. I'll die as well - what is there left for me?" Bee was solemn, relaxed - he had long accepted his fate. "I'll go mad, like you did... I hope Prime will have mercy on me, and shoots me before I do any damage." He paused. "Energy does not dissolve into nothing. Our sparks go somewhere... We'll meet there. Just as you'll meet your comrades. I'll be able to see Jazz... it won't be bad." He chuckled a little.
Barricade only looked up at his lover, inches away. "I do not believe in the afterlife," he stated quietly. "And if there is something else, I will not be going where you are."
"We are not that different. I killed many Cons... And if you go back to the roots... we're the same race. And since Sam is at the place humans go to... who will be there for me if not you?"
"Jazz." The answer was simple, straight, and to the point. Hushed, however...Barricade was so tired.
"But I want YOU to be there for me, damn it..." Bee tilted his head forward, until his vocalizer touched Barricade's mouth. "Stupid Con. Not getting the hints." There was a pause again, then a barely audible whisper. "I don't want to be lonely anymore... Stay with me, 'Cade...!"
Why was it taking so long? The Ford Mustang idly mused on it, more in control of himself now than he had been in weeks. Ironic. Barricade blinked his ever-dimming optics once as their 'mouths' touched, and he nibbled in response. "I can't."
"I know... I know. I'm sorry." a series of soft clicks followed the confession.
The Saleen sighed softly, ventilations slowing to nearly nothing. He missed the way things were. The Nemesis. Frenzy. Even Blackout's bullying attacks that always ended in such pleasure. Megatron's command, Bonecrusher's hate, Starscream's treachery...all of it. Chrome claws stroked and petted, and then began to still.
"'Cade... 'Cade, no... please, don't leave me." But the begging was weak and without any passion - there was nothing to change, the unavoidable end closed on both of them. Bee wished that he could cry; if only he could somehow purge that searing pain from the inside, which melted everything... It would be so good, a moment of peace after all the tension and agony. But transformers don't shed tears. He had to deal with this hollowly echoing emptiness alone.
The spark within an ebony chassis stopped its scintillation, stilling almost in shock within the battered chamber. The fingers stopped, the nibbling upon Bee's vocal piece ceased, and Barricade's optics flickered. Seconds away from death, his last breath literally spent, the black and white's body relaxed as feeling rushed out of him and he felt like he was falling.
"I love you."
And that was all; the last words to exit the jagged and terrible mouth in a voice so soft that it was nearly unbefitting. Before a reply could have been issued Barricade stilled completely and died, head leaning back against the concrete as the red embers sputtered out and his very being ceased, so utterly, to exist.
There was silence and time seemed to stop; Bumblebee had no idea how long he was sitting there, staring into those cold, dark optics, while his enemy-lover's last words were echoing in his head. His Spark's pulses pumped sharp pain thought his fuel lines instead of energy; the scout didn't scream, didn't wail but didn't move, either.
Finally, his hand reached out, yellow fingers curling around the rod sticking out of the dark chest, and Bee broke it off with little effort. The lock of his armor clicked open. He wondered if it'll hurt much-
A hand caught his. "Bumblebee, no!"
The scout looked up, straight to Ratchet's optics. "I can't stay," he said quietly. "Sam's dead, he's dead too… He loved me. He shed the Decepticon and-"
"Don't insult the deceased!" Ratchet snapped. "Barricade never stopped being a proud Decepticon warrior, not even in his final moment. He just admitted what he felt for you. Honor him, and don't stop being an Autobot, Bee. Autobot warriors never stop until they have something to do."
"Nobody needs me," Bee said. Ratchet's optics flashed – the look in them was the equivalent of falling to one's knees, writhe on the ground and beg desperately.
"We do," he whispered. "We don't want to loose you. Little Bee, stay with us…! Let us try…! And the humans- you did so well as their protector, they could still use your help. Honor Barricade's persistency with your own."
Bumblebee stared down at the sharp-ended rod iron in his hand. Should he… stay? Being an Autobot without the ones, he loved… Oh. That was not perfectly true. He loved the others as well, Prime, Ratchet, Ironhide. And this world… and the humans.
He subspaced the rod, and nodded to the medic, noticing the hope flaring up in his optics. The scout had no hope; he knew he would die, eventually. A little delay was nothing.
Barricade didn't give up, either; he fought with the madness. And Bumblebee thought, he could do that, too. He'll stay and fight.
Until the day his mind becomes perfectly twisted.