"Don't get up, don't get up, I can do it!" Stormstrike sprang from his berth at the sound of knocking.

After telling Optimus and Aero Prime practically everything they needed and wanted to know, the elite brothers had retired to their shared room to shut down and recharge a bit. Stealthblade had been awoken by knocking first, but his frazzled thoughts had shaken Stormstrike awake as well, and made him hastily get up before his still exhausted sibling could.

Stormstrike opened up the door only to find Windgust grinning guiltily.

"Sorry boys, Pulse wanted me to look you both over one last time for the night. He's worried about Stealth having a relapse." Windgust explained softly.

"Okay…just be quick, Stealth's a little cranky and needs his beauty sleep." Stormstrike giggled as Stealthblade attempted to sit up.

"I would tell you to shut up, but then I'd be proving that you're right." Stealthblade grumbled, rubbing his neck wearily.

Windgust giggled lightly and then walked over, examining his chest plate and getting him to lift it up. She frowned slightly at what she uncovered, but it didn't seem severe enough to do anything about.

"Geeze Stealth, your spark is in awful condition. I can't believe it was even worse." The femme gasped.

"That's comforting." He retorted uncomfortably.

"Oh I'm sorry, but its true. Hmm, from what Pulse described your spark looks well on its way to a full recovery. I think you'll be just fine come this weekend." Windgust smirked and backed off.

"Your turn."

Stormstrike started, rocking back against a wall as he tried to keep away from the femme. She snorted at his pathetic action.

"It'll only take a second Storm, just open up." Windgust insisted, closing the distance between them.

Help me! Stormstrike looked desperately at his sibling.

No. Suck it up. Stealthblade exhaled deeply.

Finally the younger brother yielded, allowing Windgust to inspect his spark. He cringed when she brushed over his spark chamber and tried his best not to snap his protective chest plating back over it.

"Well I'll be. Even though your spark didn't suffer any immediate trauma it's almost as bad as Stealthblade's. I'm surprised you're not in pain!" The field medic gasped.

Stormstrike rolled his optics. "Do I pass inspection?"

Windgust snorted, whacking him upside the head. He flinched and pulled away.

"Yes, you pass. I'll see you two tomorrow, so rest up. Pulse wants to run some minor stress tests and another full diagnostic. Sleep well." She smiled and walked out, before Stormstrike could protest about their activities the next day.

Oh that's so uncool! We're obviously fine… His train of thought turned into an audible growl.

"Calm down, you're stressing yourself out." Stealthblade stretched back out on his berth, intent on getting more rest.

"Stressing out! Have you ever seen me stressed!" Stormstrike exclaimed.

"Yes, right now." Stealthblade managed a shallow chuckle.

Oh…I suppose you're right. Maybe I need some rest to? Stormstrike sat down, but did not stretch out. Stealthblade could sense something was bugging him.

"Hey Stealth?" Stormstrike started.

He grunted in reply, waiting patiently for his brother to begin.

"What if…what if we hadn't made it? Or only one of us had?" Stormstrike's optics swam around the room, looking at anything but his sibling.

Stealthblade turned to look up at the ceiling, uncertain of what type of answer Stormstrike needed. As a human he had been very fearful of separating from his sibling, even if he knew they'd be reunited shortly. Stealthblade had after all been the one to raise him.

"It's a what if, Storm. It didn't happen." The dark mech decided to go with the vague approach.

"Sure, not this time, but what about the future? I can't watch you die again…" He tore his gaze to the floor, and his frame started to shake.

Stealthblade watched as Stormstrike began to cry in the way only a transformer could. Tearless but just a painful. He sat up and shuffled over to his little brother's side, sitting down beside him and throwing a comforting arm around him. Stormstrike turned and buried his head into Stealthblade's shoulder, shuddering terribly.

Hey, I'm here now, I'm still alive. We're both okay. Stealthblade gently stroked the back of Stormstrike's helm with his free hand.

It was hard to remember Stormstrike was just an eleven year old boy sometimes, but at the moment Stealthblade felt like they were just two kids living on the streets again, completely dependent on one another to survive again.

"Don't die…again, please. I need you." Stormstrike gasped between his cries.

Stealthblade stiffened and sat his brother back, placing both hands on his shoulders and looking straight into his optics. They were dull and flickering, as if he was trying to blink back tears.

"Stormstrike, you know I can't make any promises. We're Autobots now, soldiers. There is a war going on around us, and causalities happen." His dark voice was helping him much, but he continued. "We've both been lucky so far, even if I say otherwise at times. But I will promise you one thing. As long as I'm still functioning, still alive, I will be there for you. Just remember that, even if we're assigned to completely different planets, if you need me, I will come."

Stormstrike was still trembling, but he nodded.

"Besides, we're giant ass kicking robots. What's cooler than that?" He tried to lighten the mood.

Stormstrike though wasn't having any it. "Does that mean we aren't even slightly human?"

Stealthblade paused, uncertain of how to answer this new question. It had been bugging him sense he had been changed into a transformer, and had never been fully addressed. Stormstrike just watched his brother silently, waiting to see if he could brighten the situation again.

"Well…look at us. We have fuel pumps, vocalizers, processors, circuitry, sparks. We don't have blood, we don't have hearts, we don't have lungs. All we have are memories, and a hopefully long future ahead of us. Soon we'll have spent more time as transformers than as humans. When that happens, what do you think?" Stealthblade sighed, turning his gaze down towards his claws, flexing them subconsciously.

"I suppose not. Thoughts aside, there's nothing left of what we once were." Stormstrike watched as his brother fiddled with his claws before stopping him and meeting his gaze.

That makes me a mech then…and not a girl. Stealthblade twitched his helm spikes.

"Stealth…" Stormstrike quickly tried to backtrack.

"No, it's fine. I've been divided over who I am too long. If I can accept who I am as a mech, it kinda makes it easier to move on, ya know?" Stealthblade whispered.

I guess. Stormstrike grudgingly nodded. Just don't try to change though.

"How can I do that? I'm a transformer, change is in the programming!" Stealthblade joked, and finally won himself a weak optic grin from his brother.

"Rest up little brother, I want to see what they have in store for us tomorrow, if we're not being babied like two year olds again." Stealthblade returned to his own berth and stretched out once more.

"Right, sounds like fun." Stormstrike griped, returning to his former self a bit.

Then finally the two brothers slipped into recharge, both getting a strange sense of relief and closure from their previous conversation. After all, Stealthblade could deal with being a mech as long as he had his brother for support.

Don't forget to watch for the next in the Stealthblade series!!! It will most likely be out this late June.