Okay, so this is a little drabble I wrote in about an hour/ an hour and half as a way of blowing off a bit of steam. I've been dealing with a lot of crap lately and just having this outlet really helped to get some of the toxic stuff out. Consider this a catharsis for me. I REALLY needed to get some things off my chest.

This is completely un-edited since it is spur-of-the-moment writing, and I would appreciate it if no one flamed me. Thank you.

Warning: This one-shot is excessively dark and potentially may not make any sense.

Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers.

What's it feel like to be a Ghost?

Sunstreaker wasn't alive anymore.

That was the only way Sideswipe could describe it as he watched from the sidelines as his twin engaged in his fourth match of the night.

They shared a bond with each other that few could understand. they were from the same spark, split in two before they could be graced with their own frame. It had been a freak occurrence, something that happened next to never. Damn near impossible, they'd been told. Yeah, well, they basically lived on impossible nowadays.

When one mech felt something, the other knew, the other felt. Maybe not as intensely, but all the same- happiness was happiness to the both of them. So was pain. Sunstreaker would always know when Sideswipe was up to his usual tricks, because they shared too strong of a bond and Sideswipe's mischief would roll off him in waves. Likewise for Sideswipe always knowing when Sunstreaker got angry, he would feel the intense burn, the raging fire that would enflame his brother's spark and eventually consume it if nothing was done to calm or sate him.

When they first came to Kaon intent on seeing what the world hid from them, to feed the desire to see what lurked beneath the shiny, clean veneer of their known world, that bond had let Sideswipe know Sunstreaker was eager, and it had let Sunstreaker know Sideswipe was scared. They did what they could to comfort and aid the other, reassuring and supporting through their bond, but the lure of Kaon drew them in regardless of their youth or Sideswipe's fear.

As fate would have it, the gladiatorial matches, the spilled energon, the roar of the crowds, enamoured Sunstreaker to the point of worship. He wanted to be the one all optics were focused upon; wanted to be the most powerful, the one left standing, the greatest in the ring. He had a macabre talent for learning to fight, too. All he ever needed to be shown was once, at most twice, and a move would be his. A throw, a punch, a final killing strike. Once he saw, he knew. He learned how to kill too easily. Sideswipe learned what it felt like to learn how to kill. When Sunstreaker learned what it felt like to spar with a mech five times his size, no holds barred, Sideswipe also learned the true meaning of pain. Every time, it hurt. Every time Sunstreaker lost himself in his sparring matches; every time he took a strike, or stuck back with twice the force, it hurt his brother more.

He could feel it in his spark.

Never once did he seek to shut his brother out though. That would've been like cutting off his arm, or stopping his own energon pumps. There was no Sideswipe without Sunstreaker. So Sideswipe endured. He watched as vorns slipped by and Sunstreaker fell deeper and deeper into the bloodlust he'd let consume him. He was still vain on the outside, still the cocky, smart mouthed, aft-headed mech he's grown up with, but through their bond, Sideswipe knew everything else was a façade.

He knew the real Sunstreaker. He felt him.

In the ring, like now, when emotions ran high and energy was so thick it could be cut with a laser scalpel, Sideswipe knew his brother best of all.

There was brightness to his optics, the frenzied beauty of a wild thing unleashed. His paint gleamed underneath the stark, harsh lights as if he were a god sent forth from the pit to kill them all. Claws sharpened. Frame tense. And his smile firmly in place. Not a speck of happiness about his mouthplates, only single-minded cockiness of a mech who knew he was going to win.

Sunstreaker would always lunge first in his matches. It never mattered whether his opponent was larger or smaller, more experience or there against their will. He attacked first, eager to unleash the howling beast that rampaged through his wildly pulsing spark. There was no mercy when he landed his punches; he aimed to kill. He was ruthless. Unrelenting. Even if he was not scheduled for a death match, his opponent often ended up dead anyways. There was release in the fight, the clash of powers, in the spill of energon, and in the final kill. Somehow, it was freeing to Sunstreaker. Almost a relief to an internal torture he shared with his brother, whether Sideswipe wished to partake in it or not.

There had been so many matches like that.

This match was no different. The starting bell went and Sunstreaker launched forward with a triumphant roar. The mech he faced was of relative size, prepared to fight his attacker. Sideswipe watched with only half an optic, listened with half an audio receptor. He already knew the outcome of this match. One would would die and the one left standing would be his brother. It was a death match, a highly sought after death match between a mech from a far off colony on some Primus-forsaken planet and Sunstreaker, Kaon's finest killing machine. They grappled with each other with the intensity of two storms. Claws swiped. Energon ran. The crowd ate it up as if it was the finest thing they'd ever laid witness to, but knowing these mechs, it probably was. The match continued ferociously.

Sideswipe sat in a daze as he watched, not cheering his brother, not jeering the other mech. He was too caught up with feeling what his brother was inside, knowing what truly laid beyond the golden paint and handsome faceplate. The true Sunstreaker, when he came through during these matches of life-and-death, hurt more to Sideswipe than any injury either one of them could ever sustain.

Because the real Sunstreaker was empty inside.

There was nothing but a void where Sideswipe knew his brother should be. When normally there was a buzzing cloud between them, an invisible connection that transmitted all the little nuisances of each mech to the other, during a match there was nothing. Everything was gone. And Sideswipe was left with a gaping hole inside of him.

He could see his brother clear as day. Uppercut, roundhouse, flip, pivot, lunge, retreat. Saw each move Sunstreaker preformed with the utmost clarity, but without that connection that had always been there, it was as if Sideswipe was staring at a stranger.

No, worse. It was as if he was staring at someone who was already dead.

The feeling Sideswipe felt welling in him through their bond was empty, cold. There was no thought. No feeling. No emotion. Sunstreaker felt nothing as his opponent landed a stray punch. Armor buckled, gears grinded, and the mech surged on as if it meant nothing. There wasn't even a flicker of pain across Sunstreaker's faceplate. Not even a dull acknowledgement of pain on Sideswipe's behalf. It was black. A void. An empty space where a spark should have been. A gaping wound where a bond with a brother should have thrived.

There was only a mindless violence that filled and consumed Sunstreaker, and terrified Sideswipe.

The only thing that kept Sunstreaker going now was the pulse of his spark and the hunger for his next fight. He lived for only the fight now.

And the match ended in the same splendidly gory fashion it always did. The nameless mech was torn to shreds. Energon spattered into the screaming crowd as Sunstreaker dived in for the finishing blow, a wild howl ripping from him. He made the death quick; a small mercy. Claws straight through to the spark, driving in and then ripping out; there was a brief flash of energy, and then Sunstreaker stood victorious. Killing mechs was sometimes too easy. Watching Sunstreaker do it used to make Sideswipe sick, but now... now the match was just another match, and his brother had just won.

Sideswipe blinked once. Twice. Slowly the world came back into focus. That thrumming cloud that always hung between him and his ephemerally connected twin reformed and slid comfortably back into place like curtain. It was a comforting, familiar curtain of nuisances and tiny stray thoughts that hid the gaping void that festered within Sunstreaker. Hollow feelings laced through; fake emotions that added to Sunstreaker's façade. It wasn't real, only temporary. It would last only until the next match, the next opportunity for Sunstreaker to unleash himself upon another living being.

The red mech started as a tired hand clapped down on his shoulder. He stared at the golden appendage for longer than he should have as it dripped dimly glowing energon onto his armor.

"I won." Sunstreaker announced.

"I know." Sideswipe's voice was distant even to his own audios. He couldn't turn his optics away from his brother's. He was searching for something, anything. A glimmer of the old mech he knew. A real smile. A genuine emotion…

"Well? Aren't you going to congratulate me?"

"Congrats." Again, his voice came out too weak, but there was nothing he could do as he remained entranced by his brother's optics, searching them.

Sunstreaker hesitated before moving on, flowing out with the adoring crowd. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine…"

"You sure?"

"I'm sure. Go celebrate."

Sunstreaker shrugged and let himself be carried away on the tide of mechs. Sideswipe slumped back into his seat, hands covering his faceplate. He'd seen nothing in his brother's optics. They'd only been a pair of crystalline lenses reflecting ice-blue light. Nothing more; nothing deeper.

Somehow it had happened without Sideswipe noticing. Sunstreaker wasn't alive anymore. Not on the inside. He was dead and the only thing left was an illusion.

But there was one thing more that Sunstreaker let his brother feel from him through the emptiness.

Sideswipe now knew what it felt like to be a ghost, because that's all Sunstreaker was now.