After Optimus finally came back into the base after watching the sky for a long period of time; he remained quiet and paced back and forth quietly mumbling things to himself. Ratchet couldn't help but watch and wonder what was going through their leader's mind.
"Prime, are you okay?"
Ratchet sat there for a long time in an awkward silence; waiting for an answer. But Optimus continued to pace as if Ratchet wasn't even there. But awkwardly enough, Ratchet wasn't the only sentient being in the room at the time. StarChaser, as nervous as ever; sat next to Chromia on the couch as they both watched Optimus from a distance.
StarChaser looked up at Chromia curiously. "Is he going to be alright?"
Chromia only smiles and nods. "Yes he is. He's just doing what mechs do."
StarChaser looks up dumfounded at Chromia. "What mechs do?"
Chromia just laughs slightly and again nods and then looked back at Optimus who had finally stopped pacing and was looking out the window.
Chromia watched Optimus for only a few seconds before looking down at StarChaser again. "So, I hear you got a name now."
StarChaser looked up away from watching Optimus. "Huh? Oh, yeah I guess."
Chromia smiled and again laughed slightly. "It sounds a lot like her mother's name."
StarChaser blushes and looks away. "Yeah, I guess it does…doesn't it?"
Chromia nods still laughing then looks at StarChaser gently. "You know your mother would be very proud of you…angry…but proud."
StarChaser looks up to Chromia confused. "Proud? Why would she be proud of me?'
Chromia only smiled. "Because you found your sire all on your own without asking help from anyone, that's a pretty big job for such a small sparkling."
Optimus suddenly then turns to Chromia and StarChaser.
"StarChaser I think it's time for bed."
StarChaser, knowing what that meant; jumped down from off the couch and slowly walked to her room. But before going inside, took one last look at both adult machines watching her.
After the shut from the door was heard, Chromia got up off the couch and walked over to Optimus whose optics were set on StarChaser's door.
Chromia was slow to begin to speak. "Have you made your decision?"
Optimus only nods.
Chromia then leans in toward Optimus "and what might that be?"
Optimus could only look down at the floor closing his optics, choking on every word he said. "Will you be ready to take her by morning?'
Chromia only nodded as she put her hand on his shoulder. "Yes, I will."
There was long silence between the two before Chromia spoke, and these were the hardest words she would have to say the whole time that she's been there.
"Optimus…you made the right decision…"
For Optimus, the next morning felt like one of the worst days he's ever had in his entire life. If you've ever lost someone dear to you or have had them taken away, then you know what it's like…a humungous weight on your chest that feels like it's dragging you down to the biter shadows of hell itself, and that with that weight a piece of you is being carved out. Well, that's putting it nicely for how Optimus was feeling now.
Meanwhile, the Elite Guard (as well as Bumblebee, Bulkhead and Prowl) were loading the final things on to the ship and Chromia was waiting outside.
Optimus sat on the couch in the recreation room of the base alone in silence thinking about if he was really doing the right thing or if he was making the biggest mistake of his life. As Optimus sat there looking at the floor, somehow, a small tear found its way out of his optic onto the floor. Just then StarChaser walks in again holding her teddy bear rubbing her tired optics. Optimus shot up off the couch wiping away the tears.
"StarChaser! I-I uh… …didn't hear her get up."
She stood there trying to adjust to the changing light, and then smiled tiredly.
Optimus sheepishly smiled back. "So, how'd you sleep last night?"
She looked up at Optimus yawning the cutest way possible. "Uh, okay I guess…"
Optimus only smiled. "That's good."
Then there was a moment of awkward silence. StarChaser somehow could sense that something was wrong. Slowly, she walked over to Optimus and placed a small hand on his stabilizing servo.
With almost a gentle slowness to his movement, Optimus kneeled down to StarChaser's level and gently whispered her name.
"StarChaser, something has happened and that it's too dangerous for you to be here…that's—."
Optimus looked as if he had gotten punched in the grill or something. StarChaser just couldn't understand it.
"That's why you have to go with Chromia back to Cyberton."
There was a long deafening silence as StarChaser sat there looking up at Optimus in utter shock.
Slowly StarChaser began to stutter out her word, being careful about what she's saying. 'But I-I thought if I found you then we could be together, that we could maybe even be…a family."
Optimus could only sigh as he took StarChaser into his arms. He gently sat down on the floor and slowly caressed her head holding her close to his spark.
StarChaser then looks up with tears beginning to swell in her optics. "Don't you want me?"
Optimus looked down at her as her face rested against his chest plate. "StarChaser, of course I want you, I want nothing more than to be with you always, but I can't risk your safety for my selfish needs."
StarChaser looks up confused. Optimus only sighed as he pulled her even closer.
"StarChaser, ever since that night I spent with your mother had passed, I always felt that there was a part of me missing, and then you show up and I felt as if that missing piece came back…"
And for the first time ever since StarChaser first came here, Optimus had just then done something he had never done before. He looked deep into StarChaser's optics and chose his words carefully for fear that these might be the last moments that StarChaser would remember about him.
"StarChaser, you are MY daughter, and I love you more than life itself. And know that I would do anything to protect you…even if that means I can't be with you…but please…my sweet innocent child…know this…I love you…I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU… and when all this is over, I will come for you, but only then can we be a family."
StarChaser was speechless; she didn't know what to say or how to react. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever imagine that she'd hear those three words come out of her sire's mouth even though those were the three words she had journeyed so far to hear. Optimus then put StarChaser on the floor and got up. He picked her and her teddy bear up and started to walk towards the door.
StarChaser lay in his arms almost like a new born child and watched as a single tear roll down the face of her sires' and hit hers. She finally understood. Her sire, her father, really did love her.
The tear disappeared as Optimus and StarChaser came into the light of a new day in Detroit. StarChaser then saw Chromia standing there in front of the Elite Guard ship…waiting to take her home.
Optimus slowly came to a halt in front of Chromia and looked down at StarChaser.
He embraced her in a hug just one last time and whispered to her five words he hoped she would never forget. "I will always love you…"
StarChaser looked up at Optimus with pleading optics begging Optimus not to leave her, and that she wanted to be with him.
Then he said in the same gentle whisper like before. "I will never leave you, and I will always be with you as long as you remember how much I love you."
Slowly he then handed StarChaser to Chromia and whispered. "Take care of her."
He then turned and started to walk away. Chromia put StarChaser over her shoulder and whispered. "Come on, it's time to take you home."
Just then and epiphany came rushing into StarChaser's processor. 'Home, what does that even mean 'home' is it the place you are born or is it the place you spend most your life. Or is it…something else?'
Everything in StarChaser's head was screaming: NO YOU IDIOT HOME IS HERE! HOME IS HERE! HOME IS WITH DADDY! Wait… daddy?
Chromia was almost at the top of the ramp just behind Jazz when everything finally became clear to StarChaser. She finally knew where she belonged, and it wasn't on Cybertron… it was here with her dad….on Earth.
StarChaser then screamed as loud as she could.
"DADDY DON'T LEAVE ME!"
Everyone froze and looked at StarChaser, but Optimus; he whipped around and looked at StarChaser in a mix of shock and glee. Did she really just say what he thought she said? Did she really just call him "daddy"?
StarChaser forced her way out of Chromia's grip and fell to the ramp but was up just as quick as she fell down running toward Optimus.
She practically jumped into Optimus' arms bawling saying over and over again. "I don't want to go. I don't want to go daddy. I wanna be here with you. I WANT TO BE WITH YOU!"
Optimus embraces StarChaser almost weeping himself.
"StarChaser, please listen to me…"
But then StarChaser screams.
"No! You listen! Ever since mom left I've felt alone and weak…that there was no one else in this universe like me…but then I remembered what momma told me…what she told me about you! She told me that you were the nicest, most gentle, courageous, and most understanding mech she had ever met, and that I reminded her so much of you…and that if you would have been there when I was born you would have fallen in love at first sight. But you weren't because you were in the Autobot Academy, and you didn't even know I existed. But now all that has changed. I found you. I finally found you, I already lost mom, and I'm not loosing you too!"
Optimus looked at StarChaser shocked at the fact that she said so much, but then smiled gently hugging her. He didn't say anything. He was more proud than anything else. In his mind, she truly was 'just like him'.
There was a long silence as Optimus stood there holding StarChaser until she finally let go. Optimus looked at her confused but StarChaser being the 'little deviant' only smiled.
She turned and walked slowly over to Chromia looking up at her innocently.
Suddenly Chromia lifted a hand to stop StarChaser. "It's okay little one, I understand… you don't want to go home because…because you're already home. You ARE where you belong."
Chromia then knelt down and embraced StarChaser in a hug. "I'll come and check in on you from time to time."
Chromia then looked at Optimus. "You better take good care of her, Optimus Prime."
Optimus only nodded and smiled.
StarChaser slowly backed away off and away from the ramp watching Chromia and giving a reassuring smile. Almost as if to say don't worry, he will'.
Chromia backed up into the ship and waved one last goodbye as the door slowly closed and the ship began to lift off the ground.
StarChaser continued to wave good bye until the ship was long out of sight and somewhere in the heavens on its way back to Cybertron.
Optimus, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Bulkhead and Prowl watched as StarChaser stared at the sky were the ship had disappeared behind the clouds. Was she having second thoughts about staying here on Earth? Did she suddenly change her mind and now wanted to go back to Cybertron?
But then all at once as if to wipe the worries from Optimus' mind, StarChaser threw up her servos and squealed with joy as she ran and jumped on Optimus; pretty much tackling him.
Optimus not expecting the sudden attack fell backwards onto the ground with StarChaser sitting triumphantly on his chest plate.
Optimus at first glared at StarChaser making her uneasy, but he then started laughing.
"What am I going to do with you?"
StarChaser laughed and she threw herself onto him (hugging him).
"Face it daddy, you're stuck with me."
Optimus then got up and StarChaser jumped onto his shoulders in a kind of piggy-back-style way and wrapped her arms around his neck and laughed. It was a laugh not of just happiness, but of relief and sheer joy of her recent victory. Optimus rolled his optics and laughed as he walked back into the base with 'his monkey' on his back.
Bulkhead and Bumblebee laughed as the fallowed the duo back inside. They talked amongst themselves.
"So you think the boss bot will be more fun now that the kid is staying?"
Bulkhead turned to Bumblebee waiting for an answer. Which is what he got.
"Face it, the boss bot will NEVER be fun, maybe his kid, but not him."
Out of the base a voice rang out with a hysteric giggle fallowing.
"I HEARD THAT BUMBLEBEE!"
Everyone laughed. Today seemed like it was going to be a good day after all.
Prowl merely shook his head and smiled to these turn of events, and then looked at Ratchet.
"So do you think that this is the end?"
Ratchet turned to Prowl.
"What do you mean kid?"
Prowl looked up at the sky, then quickly back at Ratchet.
"I mean, is this the end of StarChaser being fought over, is this the end of StarChaser being thought of as an outsider?"
Ratchet turned to Prowl and smiled. Then started walking toward the base and looked up at the sky as if to stare into space itself before looking at the base to see StarChaser laughing as Optimus tickled her.
"No Prowl, I got a feeling that … this is only the beginning…"
…or is it?...