Ok; bit of story behind this.
I'm part of an LJ comm that has been lovingly granted the name of 'Cracktran'; originally, it was just a matter of Bonecrusher having a livejournal and everyone else getting one. Somehow it has turned epic with the Autobots and Decepticons living together a la Brady Bunch, Unicron and Primus chizillin' in the solar system with the former occasionally tentacling anyone who comes close enough (Primus just Rick Rolls), an axis of Weevil, and oh yeah, did I mention the dreaded Plot!Drama?
I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun. :3 Especially since I get my Daily Dosage of M/OP. Mmmmmmmmmmm...
Plot - Optimus and Megatron and Thundercracker and Sunstorm are captured by the Quintessons, oh noez! I'd already decided that Optimus had an experience with them that may or may not have helped to start the war (EMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO), and this was a fun chance to let the muse be tortured...and get over his bad past! Woot! That was a few months ago. I wrote the first two parts of this because I wanted to write, and Optimus!Muse seemed like a good guy to torture. Somehow it's turned into its own fic. oo
Couple things to keep in mind:
-Dark!Fic is dark. Mostly.
-Canon? What's that? Cracktran's a gestalt of everything; Movieverse, G1, Beast Wars, WHATEVER JUST SO LONG AS WE HAVE FUN WE ROLL WITH IT.
-I torture the muses because I love them. -
Transformers is not mine, all rights reserved to respective orders, free lisence, blah blah blah blah blah...
He doesn't know how long he's been here, but it feels like eternity. They removed his chronometer long ago, and other systems as well - or are they only deactivated? He doesn't know. He's tried to access them many times, but it's like they never existed in the first place. The very paths and routes that are second nature are not so much destroyed as gone. And he only wishes he was in the Pit.
The Pit is cold. The Pit is silent. This...this is not the Pit. Hundreds of lightyears away, a molten mass of rock will one day develop a species that will form a religion with a location that could very well describe where Optimus Prime is located now.
He is in Hell.
His processor drifts off to how he got here. Called up before the Council of Ancients, a mission that they asked - ordered? - him to go on. Investigate an abnormality in a remote sector. He was so young...so barely used to his position as Prime...and in a way, still so intimidated by them all...he accepted. He figured it wouldn't take too long, and didn't say much to Megatron other than he'd be going away for a little bit, and would be back soon. Oh, Primus, he would do anything to change that decision now. Anything.
But he has nothing. Not even the Matrix is here to protect him. Once they found out that he wasn't holding it (he can't remember why, just that he didn't bring it with him out here - and he honestly doesn't know where it is, whether it's in the hands of the Ancients or otherwise), they began to play with him. But their play is his torture.
And who /are/ they? They call themselves his creators, his /fathers/, but he knows deep down in his Spark that no such being could be so cruel. They are no fathers. They are five faces of darkness that he woke up to seeing, and was promptly bombarded with questions. Answers they did not like - or ones he would not give - were met with pain. Lots of it. He managed to get through it at first, but he was - is only metal and steel.
Even metal and steel can break.
He lies here, hunched in the corner of his cell, unable to keep his processor from running on its own. It once more goes back to earlier days...his earliest memories. The ones when he was just Orion, working on the docks with his friends. It was hard, but it was satisfying. Ariel, his girlfriend, though that was her way of putting it. To him, there was a space between girl and friend, and even with Dion saying he was a lucky guy and that Ariel would do /anything/ for him, somehow he had no urge to even ask. He was happy with the way things were. Primus, he'd hardly even /thought/ about her in that particular way, and those thoughts didn't really interest him. He guessed she just wasn't 'the one', as some people said.
Things...changed. Suddenly he was brought up before the Council of Ancients, a boy surprised to hear that the Matrix had chosen /him/ as the next Prime. How could it? He wasn't anyone special, hardly any Sentinel, and they hadn't even found out who had /killed/ Sentinel yet and they were making /him/ Prime? There must have been some mistake!...but then suddenly he wasn't a boy anymore, he wasn't even Orion anymore.
He was Optimus. And breaking from tradition, there was another to rule with him. Where there was before just a Lord, now there was a Lord and Lord Protector...Megatron.
Somehow...Megatron drew him. Like a moth to a flame, he was fascinated with the mech - the Decepticon. It was apparently a ploy by the Ancients to try and unite the growing drift between the two halves of the race, and it seemed to work. Rather well, one might have said - anyone looking at them would have said they were, indeed, one species. Not so much Autobots or Decepticons, but Cybertronians. Optimus had to admit he liked it. And when he finally got up the nerve to speak with Megatron outside of their duties, he had to admit that he liked what followed as well.
They grew close. Megatron made him feel a way he'd never felt with Ariel, and he was happy to think about him in that way (to say the least). Together, they made a golden age on Cybertron...and he tried to work up the courage to ask him to take their relationship a step further. But before he could - the Council. And he /hated/ to not tell him the whole truth, but didn't want to make him worry; it would be just a simple mission. He'd be back before Megatron knew it.
Oh, how wrong he was.
He shudders in spite of himself. With his sensors dulled in his cometary protoform, he wasn't able to realize what was going on until it was too late. And then he woke up here. With them. And Hell began. He's not Optimus Prime anymore (how can he be a prime without a matrix), or even Orion Pax (orion is dead). He's...
He wants to die. He wants it to end. He's already tried to claw out his own Spark chamber from desperation...it didn't work. They stopped him before he could, and hurt him for it. He's tried begging for death, or any sort of end, but they don't care...
...and what hurts most of all is that he can feel himself losing the ability to, as well. It's funny...because the less he cares...the less it hurts.
He doesn't want to die here. But he knows he's going to. It chills him to the spark, but he's going to die here and there's nothing he can do about it. Why bother? Why keep fighting? This isn't a battle he can win. He /can't/ win. He's going to die and he won't even be able to tell Megatron how he really feels...
The door opens, and he flinches, body conditioned to expect nothing good from it. He used to be able to get up and try to fight back, but he was always - /always/ defeated. Sometimes humiliatingly so. Now he doesn't even get up, despite the command. His body tries to move/he/ tries to move, but the weight of his despair is just too heavy.
Just kill me. Primus, kill me already.
And that thought makes a thin tendril of something he thought had already been killed run through him. He siezes upon it for strength, even as he's hauled out.
Damn you for ignoring me. I hate you! I HATE YOU!
He doesn't realize he's screaming it out loud.
So very, very cold.
It's stopped hurting. All he has left is his hatred, and it keeps him alive through the coldness and the apathy. It's cold in itself, but it's something to hold on to, and he floats in a dark abyss with it as his lifeline. Days, weeks, months, Vorns he could be here, and he couldn't tell the difference. He hears nothing. Sees nothing. Touches nothing.
He is nothing.
It's so dark. If he had anything left, he'd wish that there was some light in here, somewhere. His is long gone - extinguished by the merciless faces. Oh, his Spark is still in his chest, but if they gave him the chance, he would rip it out. If there was ANY way for him to get out of here, he would take it...
...if he still had the ability to care.
A voice he doesn't recognize. One he doesn't care about. Damn them anyway. Damn them all.
How could you just ABANDON me? I begged for you, I cried for you, YOU IGNORED ME! I HATE YOU!
"Optimus, wake up!"
Something is touching him. He flinches away, curling deeper into himself and away from the pain. But there are arms - arms? The Quintessons don't have arms - around him, cradling his ripped and broken (and now trembling) chassis. Someone is speaking, whispering words of concern...and reassurance. Somehow, they reach through the void and touch a part of him he also thought was dead.
"Optimus, you're all right now. Can you hear me? It's me, Alpha Trion. Optimus, say something!"
What isn't yet broken shatters - including his lifeline - and his own useless arms are suddenly grabbing onto the other as every ounce of his pain escapes in broken sobs.
Oh, Primus, why does it still hurt so much...?
He wakes up and doesn't bother checking to see where he is. Once more, he's flat on his back...but strangely enough, instead of the cool metal of a table, there's the slightly warmed metal of what he could swear is a recharge berth. That part of him that he only thought was dead ponders the ramifications of this, but the greater majority of him is still numb and unfeeling. Thus, he only barely registers when the other presence enters. When it touches him, however, he immediately tries to move away. The fact that he's unrestrained only makes it easier for him to fall off, despite the fact that arms are trying to grab him.
Nonononononono. Get away from me!
"Optimus, calm down! Calm down, you're all right. I've got you."
He's against the corner of the room, optics wided and bright. But all they see are faces, flashing in front of him, faces which evoke a strangled sort of scream. Terror grips him, merciless and powerful, but something cuts through it. A coolness - but not a coldness - washes through his fuel lines, and his overreacting systems slowly calm down. There's still the fear, but now it's sluggish.
Now he can see the aged face before him, and really hear him.
"Do you know who I am?"
He nods slowly. Alpha Trion. One of those on the Council. A flash of hatred arises - you sent me here! - but it passes as Trion nods back, and continues to speak.
"When you didn't return and no one could hail you, I petitioned the Council to allow an expedition to follow your steps." The elderly mech made a face. "Unfortunately, you're looking at its only member."
Somehow, Optimus finds it in his processor to speak. "You came alone?" Trion nods. And once more, he knows fear. He grabs Trion's arms desperately, practically shaking the other. You've got to get away! They're coming! he wants to scream, but no sound comes out. They're going to hurt you!
Surprisingly, the thought of the Quintessons hurting someone other than himself scares him a lot more than knowing that they'll find and recapture him.
Trion grabs his arms back, meeting Optimus's optics. His words cut through the rising panic.
"I know, Optimus. I know."
And like that, it's gone. All Optimus can do is stare at him, trying to comprehend. Trion can't possibly know, no, he's just trying to calm him, he doesn't understand the danger he's i-
"You bear the mark of the Quintessons."
It's so blunt a statement that the panic dissapears completely, replaced with shock. Optimus' arms drop to his sides. "You know," he repeats, the words hollow in his audials.
Trion nods. "Yes."
"You knew," Optimus rephrases.
Trion blinks. "I don't understand."
He's unprepared for the sudden surge of fury as the Prime reaches out to grab his throat, slamming him to the ground hard enough to pull out a cry of pain. "You -KNEW-! You and the others sent me out here knowing slagging well what was here waiting for me, and you sent me anyway!" He tightens his grip, optics burning like twin suns as if they could bore holes into the stunned - and choking - mech below him.
While few mechs need to breathe as many organic species do (indeed, their form of 'breathing' is merely a way to cool interior systems) the neck is home to many essential lines - fuel, neural information, and others. Enough pressure applied slows or can even stop these vital functions, resulting in processor failure. Thus it can hardly be surprising that when one has another's hands around their neck and are attempting to strangle them, that they struggle to keep alive.
What /is/ surprising when the victim's hands merely fly to the other's wrists, optics wide as they try to say something. But Optimus does not consider this, nor the ramifications of his thumbs digging into the others' vocalizer. The static coming from it only serves to heighten his wrath, and he tightens his grip.
\\I did not know!\\ Trion resorts to his internal comm.
\\Ghk...Optimus, you're hurting me...!\\
His hands release. He pulls away from the coughing mech below him, looking down at his hands with a faint air of shock - and then back up at Trion as he pulls himself up, holding his throat. Optimus looks back down, and again moves against the corner of the room, holding himself and getting his first good look at the place.
It's a medbay - a small one, which supports Trion's claim that he came alone. The ship couldn't be larger than one of the smallest carriers that he once loaded as Orion, able to be lived in by a single mech. Maybe two. He still has a few cables attached to him, and he picks them off while noting that he's in his protoform. Somehow, this surprises him, though he doesn't really know why. Maybe it's because he doesn't know how long he's been in it. He thinks he remembers seeing his blue and red ripped off before his optics...
...the thought makes a shudder run through him. He reaches for his head, a noise that could only be described as a whimper coming from him as he starts to rock, slowly, mixed feelings of fear and still-lingering anger mixing together in a chaotic vortex. Added with the effects of what he now recognizes as a sedative program, he's feeling very, very lost. Vulnerable. Exposed, confused, so many words to describe it and none of them can even begin to capture the hopelessness and despair, the feeling of being caught and tossed about within a storm as a plaything.
Trion is speaking again. His hand is on Optimus's shoulder, something steady in the torrent. But Optimus doesn't reach for it, though he does listen. The voice is rough due to the damage of the vocalizer, but still clear.
"The Council knew little more than what we told you. Nevertheless, I insisted that we not send you out alone. I regret now that I did not insist more strongly; had I known exactly what was going to happen to you..."
He pauses. And then slowly sits down. His voice is now quiet.
"I'm so sorry, Optimus. Please believe me."
Optimus is silent for a time. Then he speaks. "Who are they?"
Optimus nods. Trion is quiet for a time, then slowly begins his tale. Optimus does not say a word until Trion is finished...then he shakes once, a bitter 'ha' of a laugh coming from him.
"So much for Primus."
Optimus turns his head. "If the Quintessons built us..." He makes a noise of derision, even as Trion frowns.
"I did not say they built us. I said we were their slaves. The Matrix is proof enough that Pri-"
"Primus doesn't exist!" he yells, standing up. "No God would allow that to happen - and if he /does/, then I don't want to follow him!"
"SLAG THE MATRIX! If I ever have it in my hands again I'll destroy it!"
Trion gazes up at the Prime, who is trembling - but this time, from the return of the rage. He has no control over his emotions right now, and rejoices in the sheer amount of life he feels when they're in control. Oh, he's not Optimus Prime, he's anger and fury and Trion has no idea what he has gone throu-
"We don't have time for this," Trion says quietly, slowly getting to his own feet. He stops Optimus's protest with his next words; "If we don't get the ship moving soon, then I have the feeling that this conversation will be continued in the Quintesson cells." Anger fades. A flash of terror. Somehow, someway it doesn't overwhelm. Perhaps because Trion is still speaking. "There's been some difficulty with the systems since I left Cybertronian space; I don't think I did the ship any favors by pushing out to find you in spite of them." A humorless smile comes over his face, but it's an empty one to Optimus.
He looks away. "What do you need me to do?" He needs something to do, he knows it - somehow, he knows that the only way he'll be able to keep the anger and fear at bay, justified as they are, is by doing something else. Anything else. He's not picky, he wouldn't mind cleaning out the dregs so long as he doesn't have to think...
"Come with me."
Trion walks. After some hesitation, Optimus follows.
Optimus is not impressed with the ship Trion took to come find - rescue? - him. Despite Trion's insistance that he had it fully checked over before he left, there's some problems that even he knows could not have been overlooked. He develops his own suspicions, but keeps them to himself. There's no time for them, really; he keeps himself busy enough that he doesn't have much time to really linger over his recent past. Every time that a memory comes up, he distracts him before it can overwhelm.
He's not healing...but he's not getting any worse. And slowly, he builds up walls that keep the pain at bay. Still, he's not living. He feels so very empty, but every time Trion asks him if he's all right, if there's anything he needs - he either says he's fine, or doesn't say anything at all. And then there's more to do.
The ship heads home, slowly but surely. Together, they repair it, and it isn't long before Trion is teaching Optimus about how to pilot it. In fact, he's teaching him a lot more than that...Optimus would never have known that Trion had actually been under the Quintessons, and led the rebellion.
"Why doesn't anybody else know about this?" he asks. Trion gives him a morbidly amused look.
"Good question," he responds, and says nothing more of the subject despite Optimus' queries. He does, however, ask if Optimus wants to talk about something else - and Optimus quickly excuses himself to check on the Energon processor. For a moment Optimus thinks he sees hurt in the old mech's optics, but he doesn't stay long enough to consider. Instead, he goes back to work.
One cycle, he finds himself alone on the bridge. Trion is in recharge, and he himself is not interested in going to sleep. Sleep brings dreams. Dreams are nightmares. Nightmares cause him to wake up screaming, and to wake up Trion as well - with waking up comes the questions, the well-intentioned words but Optimus cannot bring himself to go back. He's too afraid.
Emptiness is terrifying. But as he gazes out into the black emptiness of space, he wonders - does he have reason to be afraid? Most of space is just, that, space - nothing there. No matter, no light. Nothing.
Just like he was.
He's been thinking a lot about this subject. He asks himself - would it really have been so bad for him to die, there? In a way, he is already dead. If he was dead, at least he wouldn't feel this way...he wouldn't be afraid, or tired, or hollow.
Death brings peace.
The thought sounds strange in his processor, as if it's spoken by another being. He lets it run, listening to it.
Life itself is a struggle; the neverending battle for what? A few more days of meaning? In the end, it's all empty.
The voice is surprisingly soothing; full of dark promise and power. Optimus cannot help but enjoy the feeling of it pervading his processor, the tantalizing embrace of the void.
This existance would be better if it never existed at all. Yes,
You could end it for yourself. For others. You could grant them the release of death. Yes. End suffering...once, and for all. Yes...Primus, yes.
End suffering...once, and for all.
Yes...Primus, yes.Though he no longer believes in the God, the habit of using the name is hard to break.
And it almost sounds like the voice is chuckling. Hardly Primus...
Optimus starts, spinning around quickly. He hadn't heard Trion come in, and blinks once, twice, three times as the mech regards him silently before stepping onto the bridge proper. "Trion."
Trion nods slightly, then looks through the window. After a few moments, he hits a control, and a small holo-display pops up. He regards it for a few moments before shaking his head. "It looks like we're being caught in a planet's gravitational pull," he remarks. "Easily remedied." His fingers fly over the panels as Optimus turns back to the glass, watching the planet fade out of view. He could almost swear he hears the other-voice in his processor chuckle again, but shakes his head. He really must be missclocking...
He comes back to the dark thoughts more than once. The few times that he does manage to recharge don't help them; he hates the dreams. He hates where he is. He hates what he's gone though.
The hatred is as empty as anything else. And a lot of it is centered towards himself.
You're pathetic, a new, sneering voice derides. You think things are ever going to go back to the way they were? You're broken, Optimus Prime. You're broken and you'll never be repaired.
He doesn't respond to it, because it hurts to admit that it's true. There's a great gash through him, and it just won't heal. In his Spark, he agrees completely.
You're a mess, a fucking mess.
A broken mess.
Maybe he could stop others from feeling such pain. Maybe he couldn't. The fact remains that he won't get back to Cybertron; this, he knows. He is, after all, already dead.
It's not as bad as you'd think, the deep voice from before observes. It seems a little louder now, and Optimus winces, putting a hand to his head.
What have you got to lose? the other taunts. Your pride? You don't have any left! Stop,
Pitiful wretch! Weakling! Who are you to call yourself a Prime when you gave up! He falls to his hands and knees, the servos there no longer able to support his weight. You /GAVE UP/. You surrendered everything so that the pain would end, and it didn't!
At first, questions. An interrogation that he kept his cool through, at least at first; once they started punishing him for 'wrong' answers, he balked and rebelled. He fought, and fought strongly, refusing to say anything that could endanger Cybertron. In response, they hooked directly up his processor and hacked into it.
He once waited at the side of the cell door; when it opened, he lunged. Though without weapon systems, he still had his fists, and ignored the pain of the collar shocking him to tear at the guard with a brutal ferocity. He killed one, then the other - then ran.
A shot in the back made him trip. Before he could get up, a leg was caught. Then an arm. He kicked and pulled and tore, but for every piece he removed, five more wrapped around him. Eventually there was a pain unlike any he'd felt before; he screeched, his processor unable to process anything else.
They removed his Spark chamber from his chest. It was still connected to him, but they found a way to remove it from his body, and still keep him alive. They experimented on it then; found out what would make him scream in a certain pitch, then in another. They did it until he could no longer scream.
They dragged him into the main chambers. He was bound, but it wasn't needed; he rested his forehead against the cool floor in a submissive, bowing gesture. His screams of hatred had been the first coherent words he'd said in a long while, and they had taken much of him.
He didn't understand a word they were saying. He heard them, but he wasn't listening. All that there was was the hatred.
I beg you, he now whispers. Please make it stop. I don't know what to do. I'm not strong enough to end it on my own.
A dark tendril worms its way into his Spark. He's beyond terror; once more, he can only tremble as he feels it pervade him.
Oh gods, oh gods. Shh. All will end. P-primus, help me...
Shh. All will end.
P-primus, help me...
Suddenly, the deepest darkness is cut through with a blinding light. It's not so much the fact that it's bright that it's light at all that startles him; it's the barest flicker of a candleflame, and he reflexively shies away from it.
His mind and body obey as the hunger - there's no other word for it - takes control. An insatiable urge to consume, to destroy all in its path. His vocalizer lets loose an unholy shriek as he lunges for the already-moving Trion. The other mech isn't slow by any means, but he's nowhere near as fast as Optimus in this state; he yelps in surprise, trying to break free, but Optimus quickly grabs him by the arms and slams him into the ground, hard.
He wants to hurt him. He wants to hurt anyone as badly as he's been hurt. He wants to kill. It's a horrible, horrible bloodlust that he revels in. He drinks in the darkness, and laughs along with the other voices, laughs at the wide-eyed look on Alpha Trion's face before promptly punching it. Mechfluid flies, and he punches again, this time at the chest.
Trion will die. He'll kill him, and then kill others. The only end will be when there are none left to kill.
The candleflame flickers. It still lights the darkness, but it's dying.
He pauses. Why is he still asking for it to stop? He knows how to end it, now. A frown crosses his face as he rears back his hand, prepared to deliver another blow, but he's stopped.
I can't stop it... I...?
The frown deepens. Below him, Trion gurgles.
I'm not... killhimendhimstopthemneverbehurtagain This isn't... I...
"Primus," he whispers, gazing down at Trion's twitching body. "What have I done...?"
The other is still alive. Somehow. Half his face is caved in, the optic shattered. The other half is hardly any better, but its optic is at least intact, somehow, gazing up at Optimus. He tries to say something, and Optimus hears the static of an attempted comm, but..
He can only stare at his handywork over the rest of Trion. Dear sweet Primus. He looks back up at Trion, mouth moving but no sound coming up.
And then, sound does. A weak whisper.
"I'm so sorry."
He opens his own chest, reaches in to grab a handful of the thickest wires, and pulls.
Once more, he is alone. On the brink between life and death, light and darkness. Light brings pain; but darkness causes it. What choice is this?
He turns away from both, floating in the nether. He could be here for seconds or Vorns; he doesn't know how long.
What he does know is that suddenly, he can hear music playing.
So strange and out of place, it surprises him enough to listen. It's a piece he's never heard before - a soft, melancholy tune that speaks to him. It speaks of pain, and of hurt; the cry of someone who has been damaged beyond the scope that can be repaired.
He cries with them. It hurts, he wails.
I know, the music sobs.
Why? I don't know. It just does.
I don't know. It just does.
They hurt together.
Optimus flickers his optics online to find himself in his quarters, rather than the medbay; Trion is hovering over him, though he doesn't seem to be aware that Optimus has awakened. Half his face is covered in a crude patch; similar patches cover the worst of his damage. Despite this, his hands are deep in Optimus's chest, repairing and replacing torn circuitry. The music is coming from the side, and Optimus turns his head just enough to see a small player.
"Be still," Trion whispers softly. "I can't help you if you keep moving away from me."
The words have a greater meaning then Trion might have intended. Optimus offlines his optics again, a shudder running through him. "I..."
He cannot say anything. He goes silent, listening to the music as it moves on. After a few minutes, Trion sighs softly. "You asked me why nobody knew about our past," he begins. "About the Quintessons. Would you still like to know?"
Dead as he feels, Optimus nods. He does.
"It's because after we broke free...the others didn't want to think about it anymore. They wanted to move on...to forget about the past, and focus only on the present and future. There was so much to do..." he shakes his head. "...stories became just that, stories to the next generation. To the next...legends. And by the next...they were forgotten."
Optimus realizes for the first time that Trion isn't old; he is ancient. Their generations are long indeed, but to survive this long...
"I don't believe in forgetting something like that. I believe that trying to do so...only makes it worse when it comes back around, and it's remembered." He meets Optimus's optics as they turn back. Once more, Optimus sees that he's not the only one who's ever been hurt...and he almost looks away.
"Keeping it all away, keeping it to yourself...you're just hurting others that way. And yourself. Some things you just can't do alone, Optimus, and there is no shame in asking for help."
"I did," he whispers. "No one came."
Trion pulls an arm out of his chest to squeeze his hand. "Better late than never."
Optimus looks down at that hand...and then back up. He trembles...and for the first time since he's woken up on the ship, breaks down. Trion is there with him, hurting with him.
"Cry hard, Optimus," he murmurs. "Cry hard so that you can one day laugh harder."
I wasn't strong enough.
No one is.
You're still alive to heal.
What if I never?
These are the lessons Trion teaches him. And above all;
It's okay to hurt, so long as you heal.
That permission is perhaps one of the most powerful ones of all. With it, and a little help from the unlikeliest of sources, he finds himself actually starting to smile. Rather...smile and mean it.
He finds himself smiling when he is listening to music. The interstellar radio, as it were. He makes a mental note to look some up when he reaches Cybertron...but that...makes his smile falter.
Can I face them? he wonders. Any of them? Will they forgive me?
When it comes down to it...he still hasn't forgiven himself. He is ashamed by his failure, and he still has nightmares. It's a small mercy that the voices have quieted (were they even there in the first place?)...but once in a while, he will hear the darker one. He would be a liar if he did not admit that a small part of him weren't tempted.
Thus, when Trion offers a certain piece of metal to him, he turns away. "I don't want it."
"It's yours," Trion says gently.
"I don't deserve it."
Silence. Trion shakes his head. "Optimus, have you learned nothing?"
He stiffens...then shakes his head. "Trion...they don't need an unstable mech like me wearing the title of Prime. When I'm back...I'm going to hand it back over to the Ancients, point out that they did make a mistake, and go."
Another stretch of silence - longer, and emptier. Finally, Trion speaks. "Go where?"
"I don't know. Away." His voice is a shamed whisper. Even after all Trion has done to help him, and he has...he cannot change the fact that Optimus is not deserving of his title.
Humilating as it'll be, it'll be for the best. Won't it? He looks down at his hands and sighs heavily.
"Besides," he begins again. "How could I possibly carry that if Primus isn't..."
Trion places a hand on his shoulder and squeezes it. "Primus exists," he says with the gentle calm of certainty. "You're proof enough of that."
With a frown, Optimus looks up.
"Inside every Transformer is a part of him; it is what seperates us from mindless drones as the Quintessons would have us." Trion lowers himself to optic level with the seated form of Optimus, gazing into his face. "That is the reason we're here today - the reason we are able to overcome any obstacle put in our path. It is because in a sense...we are Primus."
"Primus is a weakling?" Optimus asks in a whisper. Trion shakes his head again.
"No." He reaches out to touch Optimus' chest. "Let me phrase it another way. This, here, this metal - it was once mere ore. That is what the Spark is - the best-quality ore that exists. But that ore is only as strong as the flames that forge it; it requires the most intense of heats, the greatest of pressures to become the strongest of steels."
Optimus says nothing...nor does he look away. How can he respond to that? Trion squeezes his shoulder again, setting the blue, orange, and silver object down next to him.
"When you're ready," he says gently, and then he is gone, leaving Optimus alone with his thoughts...and the Matrix.
It takes some time for him to even bring himself to look at it. Longer still for him to pick it up. It feels cool in his hands; certainly not a vessel of light, power, or even a God. It makes him wonder for a moment why the Quintessons were willing to go through such trouble to find out where it was.
What are you? he asks silently, tilting it so its reflection changes. What, exactly, are you?
The Matrix is silent, offering no response.
He sighs softly. All the trouble for such a small thing. He knows that if he had it back then, back there...he would have surrendered it gladly if it meant they would have stopped. He also knows, in the corner of his processor, that they wouldn't. They would have continued hurting him. He's still not sure how he escaped...or why they let him go...he really thinks it's the latter, which makes him afraid because one day he's going to have to confront them again. Alone.
The music changes.
Never gonna give you up...
Never gonna let you down...
There's really nothing else for it, he thinks to himself. With another, heavier sigh, he opens his chest - his Spark chamber - inserting the Matrix.
When he was first reconfigured, he was very surprised to learn that the Matrix would be held in such an intimate place - and indeed, those few times he removed it or put it back in, it was impossible not to brush his own Spark and feel a surge of feeling. Now is no different...at least, until it clicks into place.
Then he's overwhelmed by a feeling that's not of ecstasy - this isn't an overload - but of rightness. Sheer, utter, total rightness. The confidance that has been stolen, raped from him returning in a surge along with the feeling of never, ever being alone. He chokes, optics a bright-blue white as he stares ahead past the wall. Past the ship. Past everything else.
Primus. He trembles. Where were you?
He almost thinks he hears a chuckle. But unlike the voice from before, while no less powerful, this one is distinctly more...there's no word for it. It is trying to compare light and dark.
I can't help you if you keep moving away from me.
Trion's words. Once more, Optimus feels all fortitude leave him, but it's all right.
He knows now, finally, that everything will be all right.
There is a difference between knowing something and actually putting it to use.
When Optimus returns to Cybertron, he is initially overwhelmed. After so long on Trion's ship with only the other mech - and his thoughts - for company, he is hard-pressed to return to his old self. He often finds himself being pulled away from apparently staring into space, and he knows what they're calling him.
He finds himself hurt a lot easier, but hides this behind a mask...now he has two. When Megatron doesn't show up for an outing, he finds himself very hurt. But he doesn't bring it up...it's not just about him, anymore.
It's about them. He's realized something - if he doesn't get his act together, the past will return to hurt the others. It's why he was so afraid for Trion. He is, at Spark, a protector, a guardian - knowing that there is a threat out there he cannot deal with distresses him, but he refuses to let that show.
He is Prime.
Even as war breaks out over the Allspark, the source of life for their species - even as Megatron of all mechs leads the opposing side - he refuses to let his pain show. Sometimes they find him listening to music, using it as an aid to confront the pain and deal with it rather than let it overwhelm. It doesn't always work...sometimes it does...but he always, always gets back up.
For them. And because he knows from experience that it is not worth giving into.
He doesn't hear from Trion for a very, very long time.
The war is over now.
Cybertron is gone. The Allspark is gone. But all hope is not lost. Somehow, Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons survived, and there are so many others flocking to Earth. So many others that live on. But this is not the best part.
There are many that could be said to be it; chief among this is the fact that he and Megatron have Bonded their Sparks. They are now, literally inseperable; they will never be alone. There is a peace between the factions, tenuous as it is. There are times when it seems that war will again break out, but somehow, they keep it together. Optimus has once more faced the Quintessons, this time with Megatron in a neighboring cell, and two Seekers being used as reprogrammed servants...but together, all four of them overcame that place. They survived, escaped, and Optimus found closure.
Trion is here as well. He lives with the others in the joint Ark/Nemesis Headquarters, and laughs with them.
One evening, Optimus finds him outside, gazing at the stars. He joins him silently, and together they gaze at the tiny pinpricks of light. There is much to be done; a nigh-overwhelming burden.
Optimus can bear it because he is no longer alone. He has Trion, he has Megatron, he has the Spark of Primus himself in his chest - and he has everyone else.
The silence is broken only by a quiet exchange of words.
"Thank you, Father."
"You are welcome, my Son."