I've had this on my desktop for a month now, and I've stalled a little on actually writing it. So, I've decided to post what I have to see if feedback helps me get off my tush and finish this thing, darn it. Oh, and also to see if this story makes sense to anyone other than myself. This is only the first chapter, don't worry, there's still a lot to come. Reviews and concrit are always welcome.

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He didn't know who had fired the first shot, the one that knocked Jazz down and left him open for the second, but it didn't really matter. All that mattered was that Prowl was warned enough by the scream in his mind to turn and see the point-blank fusion cannon blast from Megatron that ended it all.

Prime half turned from the subsiding battle when Prowl, standing beside him, dropped to his knees. The rifle fell from his hands and his head sagged, though the Prime had heard no damage being done and saw no wound. He called for Ratchet anyway, shifting his own position to cover the downed tactician until additional help could arrive. The Decepticons were in full retreat now; Prowl's planning had once again helped to assure victory. It wasn't until Sunstreaker approached, carrying the still and blasted form of Jazz that Prime understood Prowl's collapse.

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The loss and the sheer pain had sent him reeling, and his first reaction had not been planned, but based on instinct. Grab and hold on. Grab hold of what, he didn't know. With what, he had no idea. His hands were empty, he could see that quite clearly, but he still had the strange sensation that he held something by the very tips of his fingers, and that if he lost his concentration, that intangible something would slip away. It was very illogical, since there was nothing there; he could feel it, but there was nothing to feel, so how could he feel what clearly didn't exist, but could still be felt? His CPU turned those thoughts around and around in his mind, blocking out all other input, shutting down sensors that reported impossible readings that only served to add to the whirl of data.

But he held on anyway.

That might have been the cause for the numbness that settled over his mind and body, the feeling that he wasn't quite... right anymore. It was as if he was sitting a few inches to one side of himself, just slightly out of place, making him confused when he so much as looked up that he became dizzy enough to lose his balance. His internal systems were working overtime trying to compensate for the loss of something that had never physically been there in the first place, and the logic errors were locking up his processors.

But still he held on.

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Ratchet sighed and stood, moving over to where Prime was organizing the return to base. He shook his head slightly at the look in Prime's optics.

"He never had a chance, Optimus. From what I can tell, the first shot breached his armor, allowing the fusion blast to blow this damn hole through him. Jazz is tough, and he might have survived even that if the shot hadn't taken out the side of his spark chamber. As it is... all I can say is that it was quick. He probably didn't even have time to feel it."

"No, but Prowl certainly did." Both mechs looked over at the twitching form of the tactician, still kneeling where he had fallen, now staring down at the body of his bonded. As they watched, Prowl slowly reached out and removed the visor from Jazz's face, turning it over and over in his hands. His entire attention seemed focussed on the object, almost ignoring the dead mech before him.

"And what happens to Prowl now, Ratchet? Will we lose him, too?" Prime asked softly, already knowing the answer, but having to ask anyway.

"Since Prowl is still functioning," Prime grunted and shot him a look. Ratchet paused and corrected himself. "Since Prowl has not deactivated yet, there is a chance that he might not. He could even recover somewhat. He wouldn't be the Prowl that we have known, but he would still be functional. That, of course, would be the best case scenario."

"And worst case?"

"Worst case..." Ratched sighed. "Downward spiral of hallucinations and paranoid delusions, insanity and finally death. Usually the results of a broken bonding fall somewhere in between the two extremes, where the surviving bondmate simply decides to stop living." Ratchet moved back towards Prowl. "Don't worry Optimus, when we get back to base, I'll keep an optic on him. If his condition changes, you'll be the first to know."

Prime nodded and reluctantly turned away. The Ark was going to be very different from now on...