Transformers © Hasbro.

AN: This was supposed to be completely different than it turned out to be. Oh well. Hopefully it makes sense to you guys – it does to me.

Lacrymosa

Praxus was gone.

Prowl stood in the command center of the Autobot rescue attempt, staring as the monitors fed him information about the total mayhem around him. Hardly anything had been left standing. Everyone was dead. So far the rescue efforts had pulled one survivor, and the little mech was so badly damaged Ratchet wasn't sure he would live. That was what bothered Prowl the most – that a sparkling might pay the price for the destruction of Praxus.

All that remained was a rising cloud of smoke.

i can't see your star
the mechanical lights of Lisbon frightened it away

This was where he had grown up, so to speak.

He could hear the voices around him – Ironhide was questioning if he should still be leading the rescue efforts, the Twins were grumbling about his lack of reactions to the carnage around him, and Jazz was busy snapping at everyone who even looked like they were going to jump the SIC's case. A small smirk crossed Prowl's face at the thought, but it quickly faded. The noises behind and around him were muted out, selectively tuned down so as not to distract him from what needed to be done.

After all, what they thought didn't matter.

The youth sector had been cleared. That was where they had found the sparkling . . . so badly damaged . . .

Distantly, Prowl wondered if Ratchet even suspected the truth. Chances were, the injuries the sparkling had sustained would be attributed to the Decepticon attack that had obliterated the city. No one would ever know the truth.

Prowl knew.

drifting, falling, floating weightless
calling, calling

He had grown up in that very same youth sector. He remembered the very few inspections that had ever taken place there, how only the 'good' sparklings were allowed to talk to the few mechs that could actually do something to save them.

He let the memories come, flashing in front of his optics and fading into the background. He didn't try to stop them. He had expected this would happen, if he were ever forced to return to this city.

However, he honestly hadn't expected it to be under these circumstances. Not everyone here deserved to die, and certainly not like this. That sparkling never deserved to get caught in the crossfire between two factions with leaders that didn't know how to kiss and make up.

He didn't deserve the abuse, either.

Prowl couldn't bring himself to feel anything other than an empty satisfaction that Praxus was finally gone.

Jazz touched his shoulder. "Ya don' have to look at it."

"I do." Prowl nodded towards the monitors. "I know what happened here before, Jazz. No one else cares." Jazz nodded, not removing his hand from Prowl's shoulder.

"That's where it happened?" he asked, pointing with his free hand at the youth sector.

"Yes."

"No one else knows."

"No one like us."

are my screams loud enough for you to hear me?
should i turn this up for you?

Jazz grimaced. "I dunno why ya never told anyone." he said quietly.

Prowl chuckled. "I did, Jazz." He glanced over at his friend. "You think I would have let something like that go? I had friends in there."

Jazz hesitated. "What happened to them?"

"They went 'Con, if they got out at all. Some of them Smokescreen knows rather intimately as his more violent patients." Prowl said. His optics darkened slightly. "I joined the Autobots with the hope of appealing to Prime and razing this place to the ground. Looks like the Decepticons beat me to it."

"Ya didn' want ta destroy all o' Praxus, though."

Prowl hesitated, considering. "Now that I have some distance between myself and the memories – no. Not anymore. And I definitely wouldn't have left sparklings in there to suffer."

Jazz chuckled. "I thought that went unsaid."

Prowl smiled and returned his attention back to the monitors. "They won't find other survivors." he said, for the first time sounding tired and frustrated. "But Prime won't call it off."

"Prime can't call it off." Jazz said. "Not too unlike ya, who can't seem ta stop tryin' ta save sparklin's." That last part was a small tease, and Prowl took it as such. After all, the Twins wouldn't have been with them at that moment if Prowl hadn't have rescued them from their own creators. Ratchet and Wheeljack adopted them not too long after that, and Prowl doubted if the Twins even remembered their own abusive past. It was better that way.

souls are captured, dreams are stolen, hearts are broken
evil blatantly rewarded

"Perhaps."

"No perhaps about it. It's the truth an' ya know it." Jazz smirked. The smile faded as soon as it came. "Ya should talk ta the sparklin'."

Prowl glanced over at him, a small frown marring his face. "Why?"

"Ya survived. Ya didn' just survive, ya thrived." Jazz pointed out. "Yer strong, Prowler. More 'portantly, ya know what he went through. No one else does. Ya can help him through it better than Smokey can."

A small smile appeared on Prowl's face. "I didn't realize you thought that highly of me." he said.

"Ya told what ya knew. Ya didn' let them silence ya. Even when no one believed ya, ya kept talkin'. He's gonna need someone ta teach 'im ta keep talkin'." Jazz smiled at Prowl. "Whether ya believe it or not, yer the best one ta teach him anythin'."

hate surrenders, love exalted

Prowl considered this for a moment. Jazz stayed silent, working beside him while Prowl puzzled that one out in his mind. Jazz had never considered Prowl damaged by his past, but sometimes his mate didn't realize how valuable that past was. Sure, Smokescreen – the Autobot psychologist – could talk the sparkling through his pain. He could try to convince the sparkling that things would get better.

But Prowl was proof that things would get better. To Jazz, Prowl was a testament that the sparkling didn't have to be broken.

"Jazz – "

"I'll take over here. Ya go talk ta him."

Prowl smiled and kissed Jazz briefly. "What would I do without you?" he murmured.

Jazz grinned. "Ya'd be fine, but I 'preciate the sentiment. Now go."

Prowl chuckled and walked off.

the world is mourning
they don't realize he's alive

He found the sparkling in Ratchet's portable triage tent, awake and alive, but not out of the woods yet. He could see the fear in the sparkling's optics. Honestly, there was nothing anyone could do for him. His home had been destroyed, and it wasn't a real home to begin with. The sparkling only had a platform of fear on which to build terror.

Perhaps Prowl could change that.

He sat next to the sparkling, taking care to keep his hands in plain sight safe on his lap. The sparkling watched him, refusing to even blink as he studied Prowl. The SIC felt his spark clench.

"I know what they did to you." Prowl took a deep breath. He had only ever spoken the full details of what had happened to him, specifically, to Jazz. "I know this wasn't the Decepticons." Slowly, the sparkling nodded. Prowl smiled faintly. "No one else will understand. They didn't grow up in it like we did. They don't know what it's like to be trapped with someone who's supposed to take care of you, but never does. I understand, because I grew up in that same youth center." He glanced back at his hands.

"We aren't the only ones, you know. The Twins – Sunstreaker and Sideswipe – they were like us. They got lucky, though – they got out early. I don't think they remember. But I do. When you decide to start talking, or if you just want someone to stay with, you can come to me. Just ask for Prowl. The others will point you in my direction." He stood up to leave, but a small voice stopped him.

"Bluestreak."

He glanced back down at the sparkling. "Pardon?"

"My name. I'm Bluestreak."

Prowl smiled. "Pleased to meet you, Bluestreak."

From outside the triage tent, Sunstreaker listened in with wide optics. He remembered – dark nightmares that he had simply thought were signs of a glitch in his processor, and therefore hid from everyone, including Sideswipe – but now he realized were fragmented memories.

fully alive, more than most
ready to smile and love life

Prowl and Jazz stood side-by-side when Optimus finally called off the search for survivors. There was nothing more to be done. Jazz gently took Prowl's hand.

"It may not have been good, but it was still yer home." he said softly.

Prowl smiled. "No. That was never a home. My home is here, and so is Bluestreak's."

and i'm alone now

/---/

Songs used:

Your Star © Evanescence; Major Tom © Shiny Toy Guns; For You © Staind; Tell Me Why © Will Smith; Fully Alive © Flyleaf

The last line was not intended to indicate that Prowl is physically or emotionally alone, but rather that he is no longer bound by his past. Review, please!