Rebirth – Part One

Case was steaming. She was dying, their youngling was dying, and there wasn't a pit-spawned thing they could do about it. At first he thought that her extended recharge was simply her body's way of healing itself. He had already set her broken arm and was now simply waiting for it to heal. He thought she had gotten lucky.

He was wrong. There was more damage than he could see.

Three days after the battle, Rae started coughing up blood. That was when Case knew she wasn't going to make it.

Case wasn't like Ratchet. He didn't have the scanners necessary to detect internal damage in organics, and his experience with human medicine was limited to abrasions, lacerations, and fractures. Rae, after all, was an active youngling. IT wasn't uncommon for her to come back from her trips through the woods with the skin missing from her knees. The mechs had stopped lecturing her about being careful when she came back with blood coating her shins and hadn't realized it until someone pointed it out.

So he knew his limitations. There wasn't anything more he could do. He had already told Veris. No doubt the others knew as well. Case sighed in defeat as he stared at the small girl curled up on Harbinger's chest plates. The ex-Decepticon was taking it almost personally. Case didn't know if it was because of the mech's deep bond with Rae or his dark past, and he wasn't sure he wanted to know.

Case respected secrets. He even had a few of his own.

His anger rising, Case turned his narrowed optics to the AllSpark. It was still the small ten-by-ten cube it had been when it had possessed Rae. Infuriated, he picked it up in one hand, for one mindless second intent on throwing the thing across the base.

Images flashed through his CPU, showing him a plan that was as deadly as it was welcome. The AllSpark showed him a way to save the youngling that he had come to love as his own. If he had enough mechs, the rest would decrease considerably. If not, it would kill one of them, most likely the strongest.

That would be either Veris or Harbinger.

Slowly, Case formulated a plan even as the AllSpark fed him the information needed to save Rae's life. He could not risk the lives of his comrades; especially not Veris and Harbinger. Even though every mech on the base would willingly sacrifice themselves for Rae, the youngling would never forgive herself if one of them died because of her. He would need a few more mechs, ones who cared enough about Rae to make the sacrifice.

He set the AllSpark down, took one last look at the recharging Harbinger cradling the dying Rae. She would never wake up unless Case did something.

Determined now, he left the base.

Veris stared hard at Harbinger, at the small youngling he held against his chest plates. He was struggling to care for the girl the only way he knew how.

"You do realize Megatron is the cause of this."

Veris nodded. "As is Prime." he agreed. "We came here to escape the war, and they brought it with them."

Harbinger laughed harshly. "We were fools to think we could escape."

"Probably. But that doesn't mean Rae should pay for our mistakes."

"Don't you know anything, Autobot?" Harbinger said tiredly. "The innocent always pay the price of war." Pain and guilt reflected in his optics, striking Veris to the core. Harbinger would carry the pain of Rae's death as heavily as he carried Frenzy's, if not more so. Frenzy would have become a Decepticon warrior had he survived. Rae was hardly aware of the true animosity between their races until Prime and Megatron came along.

"What will you do," Veris murmured, not really expecting an answer, "if we can't save her?"

For a long moment, neither spoke. Veris had turned to walk away when Harbinger's words stopped him cold.

"Then I would only have one reason to live instead of two."

He turned to look at his friend. "I never knew you thought so highly of me." he commented. Harbinger rolled his optics.

"How often have I risked my life for you?" he pointed out. "You were the first one I met after I was exiled. The one who kept me from losing what little sanity I had left. I don't know how well I'd do, but I know that you'll still be there. That makes it worth trying to make it through." Suddenly, he laughed. "Besides, someone has to come and pull your aft out of danger every now and again."

Veris laughed at that as well. "Ah, but usually it's me pulling your aft out of danger." he teased. "I'm the sane one who doesn't try to challenge every new mech we meet."

"That's sane?" Harbinger made an effort to sound surprised. "I thought that was called being a pansy."

Silver, Greystreak, Sheol, and Bracket stayed outside of the base for the most part. Between a volatile Case and an easily enraged Harbinger none of them were too keen on getting their afts torn off by the irritable mechs. They were silent, for the most part. None was sure how much time had passed since Veris had given them the news, but it seemed as if a dark cloud hovered over their heads.

Rae was their light and joy, as much a part of their family as each other. What would they do without her?

Suddenly Bracket started to laugh, the kind of laugh one does when the only other option is to cry. "You do realize Harbinger will go insane after this, right?"

The others' exchanged looks. "He won't be the only one." Silver said darkly.

AN: Ok, not much for a first chapter, but I divided this into three parts to make it a bit easier to read. I hate one-shots that span thirteen pages. Review, please!