Alone in the Crowd

Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. I should think that rather obvious with my college-induced poverty and all. All characters are depicted as legal age.

Warnings: Undoubtedly OOC, G1 continuity (if you turn your head and squint)

AN: For the tfic_contest on LiveJournal. The prompt was "Secret Rendezvous." Also, my knowledge of G1 is spotty at best in certain places, so I took considerable artistic license.

He doesn't need Mirage's ability to be invisible. He slips into the background unnoticed. Always there but never remarked on. Seen but not seen. Glimpsed in the medbay but never remembered until needed. Optics sliding over him like he's just not really present. Like he's just part of the decor.

Hm… berth, berth, table, First Aid, table, chair. Nothing worth recalling. Nothing remarkable at all.

Even his own brothers scarcely seem to remember him. Unless they want something of course. They all go do their own things. Socialize. Bond as a team. They probably don't even realize he's not there half the time. And when he is, he might as well not be. They honestly wouldn't notice the difference.

And not for the first time, Aid wonders how long it would take them to realize if he really were gone. If he just up and left, simply vanished. If anyone would notice.

He already disappears for hours at a time, and once, he was gone for an entire Earth day. But no one commented on it. Not even the ever-vigilant Red Alert. As though even their Security Director has a filter or short-circuit in his processor when it comes to First Aid.

Thundercracker is different. For once, someone actually sees him. Optics red but honest. Quiet and soft in a way that shouldn't be possible, defying all training and logic. And in them, he sees only himself reflected.

Nothing else. Never anything else.

He supposes that Thundercracker's life is all too similar to his own. It's hard to be the unremarkable third member of a Seeker trine. Not the near-genius of Starscream. Not unique and able to teleport like Skywarp. Just painfully average.

It's doubtful that the rest of the Decepticons recall his name most of the time. The Autobots definitely don't, the majority forever straining to remember.

And Aid knows what he risks by doing this. Just how much is at stake. But he doesn't regret or even feel guilty when he slips away, when he meets and associates with the enemy. This could cost him his life. Certainly would if he's ever caught. Traitor is not a word taken lightly. And though the betrayal runs both ways, he knows just who would take the blame.

He simply doesn't care anymore. This is as much as a necessity for life as energon. For surely, he'd die without both. Wither away like some Earth houseplant that lacks water. Fade until he really has vanished.

Thundercracker needs this just as much as he does. Needs to be recognized, if only for a short time. Needs to be seen. Have his existence acknowledged. Have something that is uniquely his. His and his alone.

And as utterly impossible and bizarre as this whole situation is, Aid still isn't certain what they are to each other. Friends… or perhaps something more. There are things unspoken between them but not unacknowledged. Hints and promises. Silent whispers of possibilities. Of could be and should be and perhaps even will be.

They could go. Just leave. They don't have to be here. It would be easy enough to start over, erase what's left of their allegiances and be someone else entirely.

But Thundercracker won't leave his wingmates. And First Aid would never abandon his brothers. Absolutely not. Probably not. Maybe not.

It should frighten him that he's not even certain about that anymore. That his entire universe revolves around stolen moments. The rest of his days a blur, an inconvenience, as he waits to steal away.

That he lives for this. Not his brothers. Or the Autobots.

Or even himself.

Ever Hopeful,