Hi! Little reflective oneshot for the twins. (As usual, they are not "twins," but, rather, soulmates. Completely unrelated to each other. Same story as all my fics). This is not, however, related to any particular fic. Just a sidestep :)
I should be working on These Ending Days, this is just a short break, with a therapeutic little oneshot. I've never written from personal experience before, it's quite interesting to do.
Sunstreaker still can't really believe they're here. Some things seem impossible, and some seem too extraordinary. Sideswipe said that once, can't believe this happened, but he didn't mean this, them here now, he meant what happened before. He doesn't mention it often. Now, though, it's for reasons Sunstreaker can be grateful for.
They're home now. It feels like it's the time for rebuilding, for fixing, for healing. It's a world better than the destruction, the deterioration of before. Everything's different now. Sideswipe is a narcissist again. He's asleep beside Sunstreaker, and when he wakes up, he's not going to have any of that old doubt. Things have been better for a while now, just like this, but Sunstreaker can't stop feeling grateful. When Sideswipe is happy, he can feel it, and it means more to him than his own happiness ever could.
He still hates that he couldn't somehow feel Sideswipe's pain. They weren't together then, barely knew each other, didn't know they're sparkmates, didn't know they're not just perfect for each other, they're designed for each other. It feels to Sunstreaker like everything he is was crafted with Sideswipe in mind. Sunstreaker will always hate Sideswipe for being so similar to him and yet so much better, but he will always, always believe that Sideswipe is perfect. Once, Ironhide asked Sunstreaker how he could possibly be the sparkmate of a bot he hated.
"I hate him," Sunstreaker had said, "but not for him. Never that. That's something else entirely."
He wants to protect Sideswipe from ever feeling hated, but no matter what he does now, he can't change what has already happened, can't protect Sideswipe from his own past. He can try to overwrite the effects, but he can't go back to the source, to truly save Sideswipe from pain.
He can't erase Nighthunter.
"How're things with Nighthunter?" Sunstreaker always asked, because some part of him was waiting for Sideswipe to say, it's over, all over, we're through.
"I don't know. Okay." Sideswipe's focus on the wall before him suddenly increased. "I mean. Yeah. Okay."
Hearing him say it doesn't feel like Sunstreaker thought it would. It makes sense, though, that Sideswipe's hurt would override everything else. It's how Sunstreaker knows he loves Sideswipe.
"Are you guys… over?"
"I don't know. Maybe. I can't decide."
At first, Sunstreaker thought Sideswipe couldn't decide because there was enough good to outweigh the bad in his relationship with Nighthunter.
There was never enough.
Sometimes, Sunstreaker is tempted to ask Sideswipe if he realizes how far he's come. Do you remember when I saved you? he wants to ask, do you know how far you've come? He doesn't ever want to make Sideswipe remember, though. Doesn't ever want him to doubt himself like that again.
Sideswipe is a narcissist. Loving himself is what he does. Sideswipe isn't himself if he's not thinking he's the greatest thing in the universe. Sunstreaker hates himself for being selfish, but he loves the way Sideswipe thinks so highly of himself, it's a confidence he wishes he had for himself. He can hate Sideswipe for making it look good, but he can't hate Sideswipe for it. And he would never take that away from Sideswipe. A while ago, he didn't think anyone could. It would take a lot, to make a narcissist think anything less than the best of himself.
Nighthunter made Sideswipe hate himself.
"He used to treat me better. He was a lot nicer before," Sideswipe said, still focused on his hands. They were supposed to be repairing a calibration monitor, but neither had so much as moved to look at it. "I mean, when we're around other bots, it's fine, everything's like it was before. But when we're on our own, all he does is make fun of me." Sideswipe shook his head, looked away, "he thinks it's funny, but I just…"
"What's he say?" Sunstreaker was tempted to leave and find Nighthunter, to tear him to pieces, but that would mean leaving Sideswipe here alone.
"Just… whenever we're working in the weaponry complex together, or wherever, and I don't understand something, he says it's easy, he can't believe I don't understand. Or he'll make fun of me when I suggest something when we're going over tactical stuff, and take it to pieces to point out how bad an idea it is, even if I'm not being serious about it. But… he'll say these things…he said once, there are two things wrong with my appearance, and he said it'd be too mean to tell me what they are…" That made Sunstreaker almost flinch.
"Sides… why are you with him?"
"Because he's so nice sometimes," Sideswipe said, almost like insisting, "and maybe… maybe he'll go back to being like that all the time." Sideswipe frowned, "except he now says he expects the worst from me, and that I'm some terrible bot. He thinks I don't care about him, keeps sort of… accusing me of that. He says I've got a bad temper."
"Sides," Sunstreaker said gently, "that's not teasing anymore."
"He thinks it is, and I mean, sometimes it feels like it might be, but…"
"It sounds like emotional abuse."
Sideswipe was an intensely serious bot. Sunstreaker knew that, used it to determine which lines never to cross, to figure out what would be unforgivable. They may insult each other, but Sunstreaker knows that some things mean more than others.
"You're insufferable," he'll tell Sideswipe, "so primus-damned self-centered."
He tells Sideswipe this because he loves this about him, because this not a flaw for him. Sideswipe's temper is a flaw, the way it's like a secret, the way it changes. There's a difference between telling Sideswipe when he's letting it get the better of him and accusing him of being a failure because of it. Sunstreaker won't hesitate to insult him, but he'd rather die than hurt him. Some things, after all, are unforgivable.
Love-hate is all about understanding.
"You deserve better than that," Sunstreaker insisted, "why are you even considering giving him a chance?"
"Because there are still good things… I might… I might regret leaving Ny."
"Yeah, but there shouldn't be more bad things than good things. Sideswipe," Sunstreaker stressed, "he shouldn't make you feel this way about yourself."
"You should end it. Talk to him seriously, at least."
"He wouldn't take me seriously. He never does." The way the words were so weighted made it clear; Sideswipe hated when he wasn't taken seriously, felt belittled. "He'd probably make fun of me, think I was just being dramatic. He thinks I'm just…"
"He's wrong." Sunstreaker guided Sideswipe to face him, saw the way Sideswipe's gaze dropped, "You don't deserve this. You deserve to be treated like you're his whole world."
"Maybe things just don't work like that in real life."
Sideswipe doesn't doubt himself anymore. His narcissism is back. He doesn't dread and he doesn't hesitate and he doesn't wait for small good things amidst a nightmare. Sideswipe thought he was being too dramatic, that everything Nighthunter did was permissible, and that he was overreacting, but Sunstreaker never believed that was true. Nighthunter was emotionally abusive even if he didn't think he was, it didn't matter how intense it was or any of it. All that mattered was that Sideswipe shouldn't ever have had to feel so badly about himself, never.
Their room is filling with sunlight slowly, but Sideswipe just curls up closer next to him, doesn't wake. I still can't really believe it, Sunstreaker thinks, sliding an arm around his sleeping sparkmate, that he could take someone as amazing as you and hurt you.
Sideswipe thought he was being dramatic, but Sunstreaker knew it was closer to downplaying, that Sideswipe couldn't admit to himself how hurt he was. He'd been hurt, but more than that, he'd been hurt when he shouldn't have been. In all the world, Nighthunter should have been the last person to hurt him. If anyone else had said those things, Sideswipe would have allowed himself to be more offended, but because it was Nighthunter, he was justifying it, he was making excuses, he was waiting for a better day that Nighthunter just wasn't capable of.
If he waited much longer, he'd lose himself. Already, seeing Sideswipe start to truly dislike himself was unsettling, it was the sun setting on the wrong horizon, it was the stars vanishing from the sky, it was losing the sun.
"Maybe they don't work like that," Sunstreaker said. "But for you, they'd better."
Sunstreaker wants to ask Sideswipe, do you remember when I saved you? but he doesn't need Sideswipe's words to reassure him that it was the right thing to do. Every day Sideswipe boasts his talents and declares himself to be unbelievably stellar, Sunstreaker sees Sideswipe returning to himself.
I remember, Sideswipe is saying, every time he looks at Sunstreaker and smiles. Sideswipe is his happiness, Sunstreaker doesn't want to be anything without him. It's how he knows they're true sparkmates, it's how he knows the universe is only right when they're together.
Sideswipe knows all he doesn't say. He knows, because Sunstreaker defied the world for him. Life isn't perfect, things don't work out the right way, just like Sideswipe said, but that's only when there isn't someone fighting to make it perfect.
I'll make sure we're always more than perfect together, just like you do, Sunstreaker leans down, ghosts a kiss over Sideswipe's lips, it works because we were designed to want the same thing.
What Sunstreaker really wants to tell him is saving you saved me, because, in the end, they are one.
Hope everyone liked that.