He couldn't move. Something heavy was on top of him weighing him down but he couldn't see what it was. He felt like his whole body was on fire. He felt like his whole body was bitter cold. The paradoxical sensations felt like they would rip him apart.
Something had gone wrong, he noted dully. What had gone wrong though? He wasn't sure.
There was pain. A kind of pain he had forgotten about, one he probably never really knew. It was wrenching at him through waves, rippling through his core. Every nerve receptor was alight with hurt. His outside hurt. His inside hurt. His entire being hurt.
Yet he couldn't move.
He was trapped on his back, his arms at his side and empty seeming gaze straight up at the smoke filled sky.
To anyone he probably appeared, unconscious, unaware, and unresponsive.
They wouldn't know that he was completely aware. They wouldn't know that he was feeling such horrific pain.
But he couldn't move.
There was a song playing. It was soft and warbled but somehow cut through the sound of smoke, water and glass. It was coming from a jukebox that had miraculously survived the carnage and was still playing a soft, but distorted tune.
"Don't be like the one who made me so old
Don't be like the one who left behind his name
'Cause they're waiting for you like I waited for mine
And nobody ever came..."
Cybertronians could not cry. It was physically impossible for their race. Crying was something human, an expressive reflex their species used in response to extreme emotions or pain.
He wished he could cry.
The pain was extraordinary. It was unending. It was like his spark had been replaced by slow burning sulphur that ate him from the inside out. It was burning him. It was freezing him. He wanted to scream. He wanted to curl up and claw at his chest, at his armor, at all the sources of his agony. He wanted to cry though it was impossible for his kind to do so.
He couldn't do any of that. He couldn't even move.
Yet he could hear, and the sound of glass crunching and debris being shoved out of the way registered dismally in his audios. Despite being alerted that something was approaching, there wasn't much he could do. Friend or Foe he was stuck.
Almost. He almost wished it was an enemy. Then there would be relief. His pain would stop. It would be ended. But he was not one to give himself up to such thoughts. Not even under the most horrific conditions
The crunching of concrete and the cracking of glass stopped.
"Primus." He heard someone gasp. The voice was familiar.
There was no time for relief. His vision began to blur and static and started to fade in and out. Time began to distort and his consciousness began to deteriorate. He began to lose time with every flicker of his optics.
Prowl was suddenly at his side staring over at him. For once Prowl's usual composure was nonexistent. He was attempting to remain calm, but the look on Prowl's face, Prowl's usually stoic and emotionless face, was one of complete horror and revulsion. He looked like he was about to be sick. Still he tried to use reassuring words to comfort him.
It was hard to be comforted by someone so uncharacteristically alarmed.
Was his vision starting to double? Was it an allusion caused by his malfunctioning body and depleting energy or were there really two beings hovering over him now?
The other one began to speak. Angry, gruff, scared even. This voice belonged to Ratchet. Or did it? When did Ratchet ever sound scared? He couldn't remember. He couldn't remember, much of anything at the moment.
He was in the now. The now hurt.
(Why was I here?)
Both Ratchet and Prowl were moving the debris off of him frantically, muttering things that he could no longer understand as his hearing began to fail sporadically. Only bits and pieces of their words could be caught.
"…Cerebral bleed, lacerations of the….Primus this shouldn't have hap… crushed, he's completely….Bad information… Can't save…."
The heavy weight that had been pinning him into the rubble and glass was removed. Prowl and Ratchet had dragged it off him and all he managed to register was the sound of the object scraping across his chest and the strangled choking sound Ratchet made for some reason. Or maybe he imagined that last part. It was a possibility. The pain was numbing his thoughts and his systems were starting to fail. One by one.
Maybe that's why the sky was looking so broken now, because his sight was deteriorating even worse. No longer was it blue, but instead it was an angry red with a jagged plume of acrid smoke dividing it in half.
There was a moment of nothing and suddenly he was being pulled up.
The pain burned worse.
He was being half carried, half dragged by Ratchet and Prowl by the arms away from the rubble, and the glass and the smoke.
His head was limp and lulled against his chest. The sky was no longer in his vision, only the scorched and pocked ground.
He could see what used to be cheap linoleum flooring still smoldering and curling up from the ground from the heat. He could see the shattered remains of tables and chairs charred into almost unrecognizable charcoal, and little pieces of glass that melted under some great heat and recooled into various spherical shapes.
And a fiery blue liquid was being left in his wake, he notice. For a split second his fascination with the charged blue droplets and how they seemed to lose their energy once they hit the ground was able to distract him from the pain. The glowing blue liquid would shine bright as lighting for a brief moment and then it would fade to be dull. Dull as water.
It took a moment for him to realize that the glowing blue liquid was actually a vital life fluid and that it was coming from him.
The warbled song from the jukebox began to fade in the distance.
There were so many shadows, distorted and unrecognizable, standing around him now. The only feature he could truly make out was the glow of blue optics set in the dark silhouettes.
Three of the shadows were touching him, digging into his limbs and tearing off his armor as they frantically shouted muffled commands to each other.
There were red hands, black hands and blue hands. Each set was doing a different task. He couldn't tell if they were trying to put him back together or if they were taking him apart.
He couldn't ask though. He could only lay there and listen to the voices above through a cotton haze.
"Stop the bleeding. He'll be ensanguinated before we can save him. We have to stop-"
"-the major components in his legs are decimated. Ratch', we can't fix this on the field! He's"
"-not stable yet! Shut up and stop that from sparking!"
The shadows were still hovering over him like crazed insects attracted to a light but were no longer frantically prodding at him.
The outer pain was dulled, and numb. The inner pain was worse. Burning. It felt like burning. It was almost unbearably hot. Why was it so hot?
(What was I doing?)
A new shadow appeared above. Despite not being able to distinguish features he recognized the dark shape simply because of its goliath size: Optimus Prime.
And Optimus Prime was talking to him and gently lifting him off the ground as if he'd break if handled too carelessly.
The scenery was changing in a blur, and in the vertigo, though it sounded tinny and distant, he was able to catch one thing that his leader had said before setting him down somewhere.
"Hang on, Sideswipe. You'll be ok."
For a moment Sideswipe thought that in the distance he could still hear that jukebox.
"Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over
Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over."
Thoughts raced through his mind as the pressure around him changed (where they flying now? Was he in Omega Supreme or Skyfire?)
What had happened?
Why was this happening?
This shouldn't be happening.
The pain that had been scorching his body finally burned out and there was numbness.
And there was blackness.