Keeping the Faith

A/N: I know it's not as good as some of my other ones, but I went through a really hard phase recently, in which I did no writing. So I'm trying to get back into life. And I wanted to write something about Thundercracker. I also know the Autobots wouldn't be so easily beaten. I know.

Disclaimer: You know.

The Decepticon base shook as a volley of shots hit the outer walls. Normally, Autobots attacked for one of two reasons: the Decepticons were up to no good and everyone knew it, or someone needed rescuing. This happened to be reason number one. Stockpiled Energon was going to be used for the big push on Cybertron and finally rid the home world of all Autobots. Unfortunately, communication had leaked somewhere along the way.

Megatron barked orders as rockets propelled through the water, exploding in burst of highly compressed air. As a steay stream of Autobtos rushed through the gaping holes, Thundercracker sprinted down the halls of the base. Thundercracker didn't like to run, he just didn't. So when he did, there was a good reason. There happened to be a good reason now. His left wing had been ripped from his body, Energon trickled down his back and legs. His right wing hung by wires. The reason for these injuries was the same as to why he was running: the miserable minibot, Brawn. Why he enjoyed downing flyers, why he felt the need to mutilate was beyond most.

"Starscream, Skywarp, the Autobot's chasing me! Do something," Thundercraker screamed into his radio as he skidded around a corner, the lighter step of the Autobot not far behind. How someone with short legs could keep up as annoying, frustrating, and a little disturbing. He fired off two random shots behind him, hoping one would at least graze the little monster.

"We have out own problems. Rip him in half and move on," Starscreams voice replied.

"That's not really an option."

"Then deal with it your way."

Thundercracker was just preparing to respond when a large, grey object blocked his path. He collided, stumbled back and landed on the Minibot. The object turned, teeth first. Transformers don't have teeth, was his first thought, followed quickly by scrambling to run in the opposite direction. His foot landed squarely in the smaller Autobots face as Grimlock snapped at the Seeker. Why did they have to bring the heaviest hitters? Was it really necessary? Of course, Thundercracker didn't think so, but since when did he matter in Autobot planning?

"Dinobots in the base," he sent a general warning to the other Decepticons, "Dinobots in the base."

"I already freaking know," Ramjets angry voice blasted over the radio, followed by what sounded dangerously like a flamethrower.

"Then drive them out," Megatron and his fusion cannon answered, echoing slightly.

"He would say that," Starscream responded, apparently the two weren't in the same room.

"Now's not the time!" Megatron, the echo of the Command Center registered, fired again.

"Medic!" Dirge screamed from down the hall, the first friendly voice Thundercracker had heard, that wasn't over the radio, since the attack began. His right leg appeared first, then the stump of a leg he had left. Dirge's face lit up the moment Thundercracker barreled down the hall, "Thundercracker! Help!"

It's true, flyers are close, as far as comrades went, but self preservation is first. The blue Seeker didn't even slow, but scooped up the leg as he passed it, with his other hand he grasped the arm Dirge had extended with his plea. With his running momentum, he was able to drag the wounded Decepticon far enough to get him into a room. With one last bit of strength, he whipped the other flyer to the other end of the room, turned and locked the door.

"Did you have to throw so hard?" Dirge whined as Thundercracker leaned against the door and slid to the floor. With a sneer he rarely used, tossed the other half of the leg at Dirge's head. The other caught it and looked longingly at the damaged edge.

"The Minibot?" Thundercracker pointed to the limb.

"Got you too, did he?" Dirge twisted loose wires together. Heavy footfalls became louder and they stiffened in their positions. Muffled voices became clearer, Grimlock's distinctive voice mixed with Snarl's as they passed the door the two Decepticons hide behind, and continued on, "Why did they bring the Dinobots? We didn't do anything THAT bad."

"I know that," Thundercracker spat, finally noticing the room they had taken refuge in.

The original purpose had been weapons repair, but quickly became storage as repair was limited to only the most necessary. Crushed rocket launchers, shards of gun barrels, dented plates of black metal, and empty bombs lined the walls.

"I'm going back out there. Lock the door when I leave," Thundercracker didn't wait for a response, but burst out the door and was off down the hall. The normally well lit halls plunged into darkness in random spots. Blackened panels and dented walls whipped by as Thundercracker sprinted to the Command Center. Battle debris was pushed to the corners, and blurred into rainbow piles.

His mind, in a moment of clarity, remembered his first battle. His wings had been mangled then too, though he had managed to save them relatively intact. He hadn't really chosen a side then, but had wandered into it. He had been a neutral after months of fighting, trying to cross town and get to a bar, avoiding thoughts of war. A stray shot from the Autobots side winged his knee. He stumbled, landed on his damaged joint and screamed. This pointed attention to an unarmed flyer. His wings were hit then, torn at the point they connected to his frame. He certainly looked like a Decepticon, but without the insignias. At that moment, he had decided. Anyone that hesitated and fired anyway was not someone he wanted to deal with on a daily basis. A healthy helping of spite went into the decision too.

Thundercracker entered the Command Center through the side, immediately took in the situation and fired at the nearest Autobot. At least half of each force were engaged in the room. The red Minibot shrieked and fell. Brawn spun to the noise and took a hit in the shoulder. He tumbled into the arms of a waiting Aerialbot, who retreated to the back of the room. Another rushed forward to confront the newly arrived Seeker.

"I was wondering when you'd slink into the fight."

"Suck my contrails, groundling," Thundercracker tackled the leering sparkling. The seasoned warrior knew he didn't need his wings to win, but he definitely preferred them. His fists slammed into the shocked face, distorting the platting, "You think you're some hot slag, don't you?" He hit again, "You haven't even begun to understand this war," Again," The Decepticons." Again, "Cybertron." Again, "Even the Autobots." His hands grasped either side of the Autobots head and slammed it into the floor, "You're the scum of the scum. Don't ever forget it."

"Get your hand off him, dirt-licker," Silverbolt, the only Aerialbot he recognized, pointed at him, anger seething.

"As you wish," Thundercracker heaved the limp form over his head and threw it to the Autobot rushing at him. As a leader of a combiner, Silverbolts first reaction was to catch his damaged team-mate, causing them to fall in a heap as Thundercracker raised his weapon and fired. His first shot grazed the shoulder of Silverbolt. His next shot hit the neck, and the next, the chest.

Before he could fire again, a large, pointed object gouged up his leg and into the side of his abdomen. With a quick jerk, he was flung across the room. He collided with a wall, but managed to land on his hands and knees. Not badly damaged, but stunned, he was focused enough to see this attacker charge at him. Another of the slagging Dinobots, the tri-horned.

Thundercraker had lost his wings, but he could still jump, and damn well. He leapt, frog-hopping over his assailants head and body and stumbled back to his hands and knees. Pain shot through his side and hip. He scrambled to his feet, spun in time to see the beast charge again. It was useless to fire at the thing, unless it transformed. And Silverbolt still floated around his thoughts.

The Dinobot had almost reached him when a large pair of black hands grasped the squirming Autobot around the middle. Devastator, with surprising speed, lifted the Dinobot over his head and hurled him into the nearest wall. His cement mixer leg stomped mercilessly into the wounded Dinobot until another Dinobot arrived to take a swipe at his other leg in an attempt to save his comrade. Devastator joints shook, but held as he stumbled into the wall.

"Your Autobots are finished," Megatron bellowed as he grappled with Optimus Prime. "If you retreat now, maybe you can slink away with your wounded."

A serious look of doubt crossed the enemy leaders face, a pang of nostalgia shot through the seeker. For a long moment he was reminded of Cybertron, when the Decepticons had ruled, when they had been an unbeaten force, before Earth, where they had taken enough defeats to seriously injure their pride. This was what the Autobots for thinking the Decepticons were so easily beaten. This would show them that there still many years left in this war.

Devastator turned his attention to the attacking Dinobot. His two gigantic hands clasped each other, and brought them down on the brontosaurus' head. Smashed between the Gestalts powerful hands and the floor, the Dinobot was momentarily stunned. Silverbolt, meanwhile, called to his still active Aerialbots, which pulled Devastators attention to him. As the Autobot combiner tried to form a volley of shots hit the preoccupied leader. The combiner scattered into its separate pieces as Silverbolt lay in a heap in the middle.

"Autobots, gather the injured and move out," Optimus ordered as he fired a few parting shots at the enclosing Decepticons.

"Decepticons, pursue them," Megatron's shot hit a green retreating Autobot, who was flung into the arms of another. As Thundercracker chased the fleeing Autobots, his injuries forgotten for the moment, he was reminded of why he stayed with the Decepticons, rather than give up or defect: he enjoyed this part. He liked taking shots at the retreating enemy. He liked the power, and knowing he could lord over it without reprimands. True, Megatron didn't like to share power, but he wasn't against giving some ownership to his warriors.

Whatever doubts he had, Thundercracker kept them to himself, if only because he knew there would be more times like this, to put those doubts away.

As the last of the Autobots escaped, an loud cheer went up from the Decepticons, exuberant and menacing, reminiscent of days gone by. Whatever lay ahead, Thundercracker would be there, a Decepticon until he died.