I warn you up front that these are NOT the fanon happy, stupid, pranking Lambos. In fact, if you love those Lambos and don't want to see them in any other way, you will hate my interpretation of them and you'd be well advised not to read this. Skippity-skip! Off with you! :) But I, taking something mentioned in his original official profile to something of an extreme, rather like the idea of a truly sociopathic but still "good guy" Sunstreaker, and I simply want to explore the concept a bit.
There is more of this story, two more chapters; I'm just uncertain as to whether or not anyone would want to read them. If you do find yourself wanting to read more, do let me know. I'll warn you that it's dark, likely a product of the rather deep depression that's been plaguing me for about the past two years, and it does not end very happily. (No, this isn't a plea for reviews. I really don't care about reviews. You can just PM me with the word "more," if you like. :) It's simply that if there's no interest, I'll leave this as a one-shot and not subject y'all to Teh Dark. I'll keep it all to myself instead, and/or maybe post the rest on my fic LJ if the mood strikes.)
Also, if any of you is at all familiar with the first few episodes of the original Star Trek TV series, you might just recognize from whence my inspiration for my interpretation of the "twins" comes…
He jolted me from a sound slumber, a bright and vicious glee that wasn't mine flaring deeply and disturbingly in my spark, streaming over my consciousness in a cold and uncontrollable flood that unceremoniously yanked me from my blessed near-unconsciousness. I jerked upright as the emotion swallowed me whole, forgetting as I always did that his bunk is above mine and, as always, my head collided with the bottom of it with a ringing, reverberating clang. There was pain from the collision, but for the moment it felt distant. Immaterial. Unreal.
All that was real was the glee. The glee was dangerous, powerfully dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous thing in the universe. Because when he felt glee like this that was twitching and tingling through me, it meant that something very bad was happening to someone else, and there was nothing that I could do about it. I could only sit there on my bunk in oppressive darkness that weighed on me as if it was some tangible, physical thing, with my head ringing and the horrible glee pouring through me, infiltrating me, sickening me. I shivered. I shivered with dread and with fear and with deep compassion for whoever was on the receiving end of his fury and its accompanying awful, sadistic happiness. Even if that individual was a Decepticon.
I prayed, prayed fervently there in the cold, suffocating darkness, that it was a Decepticon. I hadn't heard any alarm klaxons which would indicate that any Decepticons were in the general vicinity or that they were up to something somewhere else, but that wasn't necessarily surprising. I slept deeply, like the dead, because it was my only escape from him, temporary though it was. So maybe there was a battle going on somewhere. I hoped that there was. I prayed that there was because that meant that the receptacle of his awful glee was most likely a Decepticon.
I dreaded the day when one of the Autobots stranded here with us would become his source of glee. Or worse, if…when it would be a human. I knew that the humans annoyed him deeply, that he thought them far below any kind of contempt. He thought this even of those humans who were our friends and who practically lived here amongst us, who had on occasion saved at least some of our lives. I knew that he didn't trust them, any of them, which wasn't surprising since he trusted no one except for me. And even that trust was tenuous and vague at best, and he would vehemently deny that he possessed it, if anyone happened to ask him.
And the humans were so fragile. Easy to break. Easy to crush, and there had been a rather fearfully large number of instances when he had wanted, desperately wanted, to crush one of them. Longing, frantic thoughts accompanied by clear, horrible visions of the act would run through him and thus through me as well, flowing strongly and horribly and so very casually through his mind and his spark, forcefully invading mine while it did so. He always focused on the notion that he could pick a human up and slowly crush them while they screamed and screamed and begged for mercy…until they stopped screaming and begging and all that was left of them was a small mass of pulpy, bloody goo in his hand. He thought that it would be so easy, so…fun, in an experimental, new-experience sort of way.
It was only the thought of the goo that, so far, had stayed him from following through on these thoughts that would occur to him, that would suddenly leap upon him whenever one of them said or did something that even mildly annoyed him. As much as he was often chided and teased for his vanity – No one knew that they were playing with serious fire when they did that – I knew that everyone should be deliriously happy that it existed. I often wanted to shout it from the rafters that everyone should be happy that he was vain, that he abhorred mess, particularly so when it came to mess on his own person. I was certainly happy that he was so fastidious. Because if he ever followed through on his thoughts regarding the humans…
Beating on a fellow Autobot was somehow excusable, so long as no one was killed. Or at least excuses had always been found in the past. He could conjure them out of nothing like the most brilliant and dazzling of sorcerers. And he could be very charming when he wanted to be, which was whenever it suited his purposes. He could be so charming that people believed even the weakest and flimsiest of excuses that he offered, because they wanted to believe them. They wanted to believe that a body so physically beautiful could not possibly house a dark and depraved spark. The notion that startling beauty and utter depravity could coexist in a single individual was somehow anathema.
So, time after time he'd been forgiven, his excuses believed, his charm nailing its target dead-center as it always did. Perhaps he was forgiven partly for my sake. I was the innocent, good-natured "brother" that everyone liked, and this notion added to the ever-growing burden of guilt that I carry. After he'd been forgiven and given the "last" chance that he always so earnestly pleaded for, he'd simply been separated from his properly-compensated victim. But such separation isn't possible here on Earth, stuck as we are. And if he ever harmed a human…Well, there would be no acceptable excuse for that, at least not in Optimus Prime's eyes. And then…
And then the secret would be out. Or at least it would be much closer to being out.
The secret is that we aren't twins, although that is what we tell people. That is the story that he created for us, for he is talented at creating complex webs of lies, and we had connections that could make this particular web that he constructed "official." So that is what everyone believes, that is what is in our official records, and so the things that he has done have not so far tainted me because no one suspects the truth. So, we tell everyone the twin story because it's easier than the truth. More believable than the truth. Less terrifying than the truth.
Because the truth is that we are one person. One person living in two bodies. And that one person was once a murderer. A serial killer, to be specific. A successful one, such as success is measured in sociopath circles, with a long string of victims so very carefully chosen for certain characteristics that the authorities had never been able to connect but that were entirely and eminently obvious and logical to the me-that-became-an-us.
But I had slipped up. Once. Once was all the opportunity that the authorities had needed. Caught, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death for my crimes, I had been offered a last-minute alternative to termination. An experimental procedure conjured by some bleeding-heart individual who was opposed to terminating for society's own good hopelessly, irredeemably twisted monsters like me. The procedure was supposedly designed to purge the darkness from individuals like me, and it had supposedly been, according to the terribly, meekly earnest person who had offered the option to me, successful on a few occasions. And if it wasn't successful, it would simply kill me. Since I was scheduled to die a few days hence anyway, I figured that I had very little to lose.
At the time, I had wanted to live, after all.
Only it hadn't worked…but neither had I, either of us, died. Instead, my single spark had been split in two, each of the halves retaining some characteristics of the original, whole, individual. Bodies were hurriedly constructed or somehow acquired - I didn't know and didn't care which – lest the two half-sparks fade. The bodies were of similar design, making the twin story even easier to propagate.
It was only after we had each settled into one of the bodies that it was discovered that the darkness was still very much alive and well in him, but only in him. Yet, it was not as effective as it had been because he now lacked some key serial killer qualities that had ended up as part of me. He had the hair-trigger temper and the intentions and the deeply-seated, driving, obsessive compulsions that urged him to pick up right where we had left off. But he now lacked the planning capabilities, the assessment skills, the deceptively happy charisma, and perhaps the intelligence necessary to be successful on the dark, macabre path of the sociopathic serial killer. Those qualities were all in me…only I found myself lacking the violence and the compulsions and what-have-you. It has ever since been a struggle to find a useful, non-sociopathic purpose for the qualities that I have. Now that they are untainted by darker desires and motivations, I don't really know what to do with them.
I am…incomplete. And so is he. But what we were when we were complete was…horrible. I see that now, and the guilt of it gnaws at me. I retain a complete set of memories, and they horrify me. Every image convicts me, condemns me, and I do crazy things to distract myself from them, to separate myself from them, from him. I do what I can to make amends for the things that I have done. But he…He yearns to be again what we once were, and it frustrates him that he can't be, not by himself. And it frustrates him, too, that I don't want to return to that life. Never. It frustrates him so much that I think that he would kill me, if not for the nagging thought that in killing me he might also destroy himself.
So he is literally my other half. My darker half. My stronger half, really. Without him, I am nothing. Weak, ineffectual, often lacking in confidence and completely lacking in purpose. Without me, he is…a monster, a crazed creature of complete darkness who knows no restraint, much less any limits.
When it had all happened, after it was done, I was told that I was the lucky one, that I was forever free of the darkness and its relentless compulsions, that I was now "normal." But I wasn't free of those things because as it turned out, I wasn't free of him. There was this connection between us, not unlike that which exists between bonded individuals, that they hadn't anticipated, that had never happened before in their few previous trials of the procedure that we had undergone because the procedure had never before split a spark in two and had both halves subsequently survive in the aftermath. And because of the connection between us, they couldn't destroy him because they feared that doing so would also destroy me. Although no one was really sure about that. No one could or would be sure about that until one of us died.
And no one – except me, at the time, and even sometimes now – wanted me, the "good twin," to be destroyed. So I kept him in check. I keep him in check to the best of my ability now, for that has become my purpose in life. I give him the restraint that he lacks, and I try to deflect and blunt the darkest of his thoughts and compulsions and desires through the connection – the bond, although that word leaves a bad taste in my mouth – between us. Sometimes, I can draw strength of character and resolve and self-confidence from him in return, qualities that I no longer possess myself, that are now a part of him. But more often than not, he gives nothing in return. He only takes, and it is deeply, painfully draining. So sometimes, more and more often lately, I escape from him via the only avenue open to me: Drugged, dreamless sleep that is very near to comatose unconsciousness, very near to death itself but not quite at that blessed place of release, of true freedom. Not yet.
Sometimes I want to die, but it's a selfish want, one which guilt stays me from bringing about myself. Were I to die, if my death will not also bring about his, there would be no one who could possibly control or contain him. And I don't want the results of that on my conscience, just in case there really is some sort of afterlife. So if I were ever to kill myself, I know that I will have to kill him, too, just to be sure that he will die, too. And I can only hope that if I die in some battle that the same battle will take him as well and at more or less the same time. Because if he were to live on after my death…I shuddered at the thought.
Still, if there is an afterlife, and I bring him into it with me, it has often occurred to me that I might still find myself connected to him. He might very well be an eternal monkey on my back, not just one that plagues me now. The thought as it ran through my mind again was vaguely horrifying, as it always was…
And then the doorchime rang, indicating that someone wanted me to open it. Consulting my internal chronometer, I noted that the hour was such that no one should be bothering me. Unless, of course…Cold dread gripped me then, conflicting with and hammering against the glee that he was still feeling and that was still projecting strongly onto me, and I swung my legs mechanically off of my bunk. I moved toward the door without thinking about it at all, pressed the control, and the door between my visitor and me slid aside with a soft, airy hiss.
Prowl was there. His face was placid. It was always placid, at least on the surface, and the surface is all that most people ever see of anyone. But I am a deeply observant individual, very near to empathic if not actually all the way there. It's a characteristic that I had always used before, before the fracturing of my spark, when I had been choosing a victim. It's a characteristic that had allowed me to revel, horribly, in the suffering of my prey. It's a characteristic that I solely possess now, and this frustrates him, takes away some of his joy but not the glee. Never the terrible glee.
Looking at Prowl now, sizing him up in a practiced, thoughtless instant, I knew that the placid exterior was currently – and only barely – masking a deep, seething fury. I could almost smell anger rising from him. The blue eyes before me, level with mine, were practically blazing with it, a cold fire that anyone could see if they knew how to see at all, if they knew how to really see. But not many people have the ability to really see, to be able to read the entirety of a person, even the things they don't want you to know, in the way that normal people read books.
Most people think Prowl cold and emotionless, mostly because he wants them to think that. It is the insulating image that he projects, the method that he uses to keep people at bay so that they don't approach and possibly breach his fragile defenses. It is the surface layer of him, the thin outer skin of the many-layered onion that is Prowl. Had I known Prowl before, before the split, I should have liked to have peeled through those layers of his, slowly and carefully and methodically, until I arrived at his innermost layer, at his true, naked self. He would have been a target, perhaps the ultimate one, the bright and glorious culmination of my long career.
But now…Although I could remember the desire, how it felt, how it had utterly consumed me, the desire simply wasn't there in me anymore. It was his, all his. And I was constantly pulling him away from Prowl, away from deep and dark thoughts of Prowl, away from fumbling, ill-conceived plans that entirely lacked in finesse and that all centered, obsessively, on Prowl.
I had become protective of Prowl that way. I understood him. I kept his secrets and kept my distance from him. And I kept my other half away from him to the best of my ability. And because of that, I know Prowl. Know him better than most. Much better. Prowl's passions run hot and deep and yet secret, and he tries desperately to control them, but he often fails in secret. In private. This, I knew. And I knew that Prowl was furious now. And the dread within me bloomed larger, like a budding black rose unfurling dark and foul-smelling petals. It grew colder and deeper, too, as if it was feeding on Prowl's blazing but hidden anger, as he and I stared at each other for a long moment. Then:
"You need to come with me," was all that Prowl said, was all that he needed to say. His voice was flat, inflectionless, but the flatness reeked to me of deep-seated, all-encompassing fury.
And I knew then. I knew with a clear and brutal certainty that bit into me and then clung tenaciously to me, like a python clinging to its struggling prey as it wraps its thick, unyielding coils around its victim in order to suffocate it.
I knew then that it hadn't been a Decepticon.