Hi everyone! This update has taken just short of forever, and I'm very sorry about that.
Thanks for all the lovely reviewwwwws! (HI SUNNY!)
Hats off to everyone who guessed the plot!
THIS IS THE VERY LAST CHAPTER! How exciting!
Everything is dark. He's completely immobile, as if he's never going to move from this spot again. There's nothing, nothing at all, the silence even reaching so far as into his own mind, his own thoughts still, empty, like there's a disconnect between himself and his mind.
"I'm sorry." The voice is all there is, mournful and sweet, "oh, Sam… I never should have let you go through all this alone, I'm sorry."
All of time spins together, no definitive span of anything, and all he remembers are the voices that appear from time to time, sudden indicators that time has passed. In the beginning, there's his mother's voice, his father's, and Bee. After a while, he doesn't hear his parents anymore.
Bee always comes back.
"I never should have left you, Sam, it was so stupid, so stupid. I was just so scared of losing you after having so much time with you, I thought that would hurt more. But it doesn't matter, because that's what I did to you, and I never wanted to do that, I'm so sorry. I didn't, because I love you, I love you beyond all reason, because you're more important to me than anything. I didn't leave because I didn't love you- I hope you never think that, it's not because you weren't enough, it was just all my fault. I never stopped loving you. These are our last years on earth, and I only want to spend them with you, and if- if this works, if you could ever forgive me, I want to be with you forever, Sam. I was just- so scared, you were so important to me, I was afraid because I knew that losing you would kill me."
Sam can't keep track of anything but the words, the nothingness that spans between them.
"You're going to be okay, Sam. And I hope- I hope that this is why you came back, to me. I hope this is a second chance, because it's the only thing I want."
Prime, for all his calm and confidence, looks something like uncomfortable as he stands in the medbay at Sunstreaker's bedside. Sideswipe watches Optimus from the other side, can't say anything at all.
"It was never Jazz," Optimus says, every word calm even as their meaning has caused so much destruction, "it was a con using his body, it was never Jazz at all." Sunstreaker just looks up at him, and Prime looks away, "I want to apologize to you, Sunstreaker. That should have been our first assumption, we should have assumed you knew something we didn't. Our first instinct should not have been to think you had betrayed us."
Sunstreaker had known. After they'd blamed him for the destruction of the defenses, he'd come back anyways, he'd figured it out and come back to save the bots that had no faith in him at all.
"I'm sorry, Sunstreaker, on behalf of all of us. Well, nearly all of us," Optimus adds, "there are bots who refused to believe it. Sideswipe and Prowl were the only ones who acted like true comrades to you. I'm sorry I didn't follow their example."
Sunstreaker has no response for him, and after Prime leaves, Sunstreaker looks to Sideswipe, as if for an explanation.
"Of course I didn't think you'd betrayed us," Sideswipe says softly.
"I wouldn't, never." Sunstreaker hesitates. "But there's still- after that-"
"I heard a memory you never wanted me to."
"But I did," Sunstreaker hesitates, "just never the way it happened. I think- you still should know. I should have told you. When- when we weren't together, and-" he pauses again, and it's all Sideswipe can do not to plead for the words he's been waiting to hear for so long, he's been waiting for this, even as he wishes he never had to know, that neither of them did.
"We had sparklings," Sunstreaker whispers.
It's the sealing truth to what Sideswipe has always known- when they ended, the entire world fell with them. Nothing that happened afterwards was right, nothing at all.
"I didn't tell you, and I'm sorry, I'm so sorry…" Sunstreaker forces out the words.
"Sunny, where… where are they? Now?"
"I thought they'd be better off somewhere else. Primus knows I can't even take care of myself, and sparklings- Swipe, I wish you had seen them, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry… they were just so beautiful..." Sideswipe tries to find something to say that won't destroy them both, something that's not, how could you, how could you, not I'm so sorry I wasn't there, so sorry.
"What're their names?"
"Ecliption and Androxen," Sunstreaker says, and it's like it's breaking his spark, but now, Sideswipe knows that it has, it's their twins that cry in Sunstreaker's memories. "They were given to two other bots. Foria and Forger."
"Foria and Forger?" Sideswipe can't speak, can't breathe, "I met them, and I almost met their sparklings-" the memory tears at him now like it never did, meeting the two bots, each so perfectly deserving of the other, matched in sweet kindness only by the other, and hearing them gush about their baby sparklings, and almost meeting them; Sideswipe had ended up leaving early, and he'd never met their- his, oh Primus, his- sparklings. "But no, no, Sun, where are they now? Where?" Sunstreaker looks at him like he doesn't understand, and Sideswipe wants to cry. "Foria and Forger were killed by cons. They probably- the sparklings are probably with someone else, or at a sparkling home- they must be safe, I know it." The way Sunstreaker looks at him, though, there's doubt and there's fear, and it's everything Sideswipe is feeling.
"I want to find them. I- Swipe, I want them back."
"Me too," Sideswipe whispers, "I never even got to see them." To finally know everything is shattering, to know everything he's been wondering about, finally understand why Sunstreaker left and never truly came back.
The world can always break more- the devastation knows no bounds. It has the eternity of their love- endless, unstoppable, relentless, and uninhibited in its force to destroy
There's something wrong with the way Bee looks when Sam comes and find him. Surprise shouldn't be on his face, he shouldn't be shocked that Sam wants to talk to him, nothing that has happened should have. They're in a quiet corner of one of the rec building's bot-only floors, everything around them still and calm, right down to the sky outside the window, an endless grey.
"I remembered something," Sam says, and the empty look in Bee's eyes kills him.
"There was nothing else to remember," Bee says softly.
"Not exactly." Sam looks from Bee's face to the window, the impossible skyline before them. "I remember everything you said when I was unconscious." He doesn't see the surprise that darts across Bee's face, but he hears the choked noise and sudden intake of breath. "And I think- I think things ended badly, and being apart isn't the right thing to do."
The way Bee's eyes light up at his words is like Sam can somehow see every piece of hope that's been scattered around the universe, a sudden, obvious proof that it's here, that hoping isn't a pursuit of something that's not there.
"But I just- I have to know, why would you ever leave me"
"Because," Bee says, and when he looks at Sam, it feels less like the day they fell apart,
and more like the day they figured out they're nothing if they're not together. "I wanted to spend my last day on Earth with you, and if we were lucky, the last day in all the universe. I knew if that day came and you weren't with me, if I'd lost you- I thought it wasn't too late, I thought you can forget being in love with someone. But- but it changes you, and forgetting is like trying to turn back into someone you used to be."
"I know," Sam says, and something like shock registers on Bee's face, "I didn't feel like myself again until I remembered how I loved you. And I don't think I'm- I'm supposed to ever be without you, it doesn't feel right."
Bee doesn't say anything, just flings his arms around Sam and holds him close, as if to show that the next time something comes between them, he's not going to let go. All Sam can do, all he was ever meant to do and all he ever wants to do, is hold on tight to Bee.
The bots' last day on Earth draws nearer, and with it comes the hovering promises, almost close enough to touch.
The very last night is a night of endings.
For Ratchet, the wait is over, as they enter the time when the truth will finally be revealed. Leaving Earth to journey across space, they'll find out what happened to the Ark's crew, and if he's ever going to be reunited with Wheeljack, it'll be now, and no matter what happens, the waiting is over.
Ironhide had never thought the day would come that they'd be able to return home, no matter how many times Prowl tried to convince him of it, and as he kisses Prowl and holds him, Ironhide can't ever doubt him anymore.
Bee wraps Sam in his arms in bed and whispers to him about everything they're going to see on Cybertron, in all its restored glory, and although Sam cries for the home they're leaving behind, it's the smile that comes after his tears end that assures Bee that they're both wholeheartedly going forward together.
Somewhere, lost in deep space, Sideswipe knows there's a place that holds Ecliption and Androxen safe. Somewhere, their baby sparklings are safe, and it's harder to imagine when he's never seen their faces, comparable in its agony to Sunstreaker, tortured with the memory of their beautiful sparklings crying for him as he walked away. Leaving Earth for the vastness of space, all Sideswipe knows for certain is that nothing will ever be the same.
The silence of the last night around them sings a requiem for the world they're leaving behind, the most beautiful melody a silent one, indiscernible from the last moment into the first, until sunlight spills over the first day, turning everything into a golden unfamiliarity.
The night is silent, gone, and the ending days have come to their inevitable, beautiful end.
Just a couple ending notes-
Hope everyone enjoyed reading! I am unsure as to whether or not there will be a sequel; got a couple discouraging reviews, and at the moment, I just don't feel like writing. So no promises.
Thanks to everyone who stuck around until the end- and thank you sooooooo much for all the lovely reviews! I hope you liked the story!