Skyfire leaned against the side of the Ark, staring up at the sky. It was a brisk night, the air crisp and clear, and the wind sending cold whispers across his wings.
Light spilled from the doorway as it cycled open. Wheeljack glanced around, easily spotting Skyfire. The big shuttle's armor seemed to glow softly in the moonlight.
"Hey," Wheeljack called softly.
Skyfire glanced his way, then looked back at the stars. "Hey, Wheeljack."
Wheeljack meandered over, looking his friend over. "You disappeared kinda suddenly in there," he said after a moment.
"Had to get outside for a bit," Skyfire answered quietly. "It gets a bit cramped in the Ark sometimes."
Somehow, I doubt it's just the low ceilings, either, Wheeljack thought shrewdly.
Skyfire didn't seem inclined to elaborate though, slumping against the Ark with a far-away expression.
"Thinkin' about him? About Starscream?" Wheeljack asked, watching his friend closely. Skyfire's flinch was all the answer he needed.
"I just don't understand," Skyfire confessed, sliding down to sit heavily. "Why?"
Wheeljack winced at the pain in his friend's voice. "I don't know Skyfire." It wasn't an adequate answer, but he didn't have anything better.
"I can't stop thinking that this is my fault," Skyfire whispered. "If I'd been there, things might have been different."
"You can't blame yourself, Skyfire. It was his choice to join the Decepticons. You don't become Air Commander by accident, after all."
Skyfire Sighed. "Yeah, maybe," he said quietly. "I just…" Skyfire trailed off, staring at the ground.
Wheeljack settled next to him, letting the silence stretch out. "That's not everything that's bothering you, is it?" he asked finally.
The shuttle gave him a startled sideways glance. "No," Skyfire admitted softly.
"You can talk to me, Skyfire," Wheeljack murmured, laying a hand on his friends arm.
A shudder ran through the big mech's frame. "Primus, Wheeljack," he whispered, burying his face in his hands. "How can I condemn what he's done when I don't even know if I'm doing the right thing?"
"There ain't much choice," Wheeljack reminded him. The Decepticons won't stop until someone stops them."
"I know. But I can't help but wonder if living under Decepticons rule would have been any worse than what this war has already done. So many millions dead, entire cities, entire regions of Cybertron are gone. And it doesn't end. The Autobots barely hold the Decepticons back, and the war just crawls on. There has to be a point at which victory is not worth the price."
"What would you have us do?" Wheeljack asked sharply, unable to keep the defensiveness out of his tone.
Skyfire looked over with a guilty expression. For a moment, he'd forgotten who he was speaking to. "I'm sorry Wheeljack," he said, contrite. "I guess I'm still trying to make sense of everything."
Wheeljack patted one of the big white wings. "We just have to keep moving forward, Skyfire, and keep doing everything we can to keep our people alive. And we hope that we'll be there when victory finally does come. That's all anyone can do."
"But is it enough?" Skyfire sounded so lost, so forlorn, it made Wheeljack's spark ache.
"Well, if it ain't, there ain't much we can do about it, is there?" Wheeljack pointed out with forced cheer. He leaned back against Skyfire's side, crossing his arms looking up at the shuttle. "Try not to worry too much, Skyfire. It'll all work out in the end, I promise."
Skyfire managed a small smile. "If the illustrious Wheeljack says it is so, it must be so," he teased, slowly relaxing.
"Of course it is!" Wheeljack shifted a bit, making himself comfortable. They stayed like that, watching the stars until the sun rose.