Title: Everything Will Change: Stability Factors

Author: pl2363

Series: Transformers AU/G1

Rating: T+

A BIG Thank You to both my betas: Mirage Shinkiro & Starfire201.

"What I used to be will pass away
And then you'll see
That all I want now is happiness
For you and me…" 'Happiness' by Elliot Smith

Jazz and Mirage silently approached the Decepticon moon base location. They drove the mile or so in from where Omega had stationed himself to wait for their return. Once they were close enough to the coordinates Rumble and Frenzy provided, they transformed and moved in closer on foot.

A chill ran down Jazz's spinal unit. Everything was going perfectly according to plan, but at the same time an uneasy feeling kept rolling through him.

Mirage was just ahead of Jazz in his invisibility cloak. "I see the base," Mirage stated in a low voice.

"Let's hide behind that boulder to the left," Jazz directed.

They moved into position and Mirage turned off his cloak. Jazz peered around the boulder. In the near distance sat the moonbase. It was oddly quiet. No one was flying in or out. There weren't even guards on the front doorway which was visible from their location.

"This ain't right, 'Raj." Jazz's unease intensified, sending a shiver up his spinal unit. "No guards, no nothin' 'round."

"Abandoned, maybe?" Mirage suggested.

Jazz stared at the strangely still base. He noticed a rather large cannon-shaped object jutting up from the center of the building. "I wonder what that big ol' thing in the middle is for?"

"Should we move in and investigate?" Mirage asked.

"Not yet." Jazz wanted to help Blaster, but he also wasn't willing to risk his and Mirage's life, especially when he was getting such bad vibes from the situation.

A klik passed, then another. He could sense Mirage growing restless beside him, as the slender spy started to fidget. Nothing on the base indicated it even had occupants. Despite the nagging feeling that something was amiss, Jazz decided that moving in very cautiously would probably be all right.

He turned to Mirage to issue his order to move in just as a large, audio-deafening boom exploded from the moonbase's location.

The huge explosion rocked the ground under them, causing them to both stumble and lose their footing. The explosion was quickly followed by a wave of debris raining down over them. Jazz grabbed hold of Mirage, pushing him against the boulder and instinctually shielding his subordinate as pieces of metal and rock pelted their frames.

"What the frag!" Mirage shouted.

Once the debris stopped falling, Jazz leaned back, staring into Mirage's startled optics. "I think the base just went 'boom'."

Mirage frowned as he plucked a piece of rock off Jazz's shoulder. "Not funny."

Jazz shrugged, then stepped back and moved to peer around the boulder again. In the distance, the moonbase was nothing more than a twisted pile of junk and metal. "That ain't good."

"That is one fragged up mess," Mirage commented as he stepped out to view the area, too.

Jazz glanced at his subordinate with a small, amused smile. Mirage so very rarely swore, so when he did let a word slip out coupled with his Elite accent, it sounded pretty out of character.

"Well, now what?" Mirage asked as he gestured at the flattened base.

Refocusing, Jazz realized that despite the abandoned appearance they needed to confirm whether Soundwave had been inside or not. "We look for Soundwave."

"Even if he'd been in there, he's dead now, Jazz." Mirage sounded annoyed.

"Dead or not, that's the mission: Retrieve Soundwave. So let's git a move on." Jazz stepped forward then glanced over his shoulder at Mirage. "Comin'?"

Mirage deeply frowned. "All this for Blaster's sake? Is this really wise, Jazz?"

Turning halfway toward Mirage, Jazz canted his head. "Wise? Prolly not. The right thing to do? Yah, it is."

Heaving a long draught of air through his intakes, Mirage nodded vaguely. "Let's get this over with and check the debris."

They stayed within visual range of each other, picking their way through the destroyed base. The unease from earlier was now replaced with worry. What if Soundwave had been inside? Would he bring back a dead body for Blaster to mourn? Primus, he hoped not. Blaster had lost enough in his life. In fact, they all had. Even the mere thought of losing Prowl each time they went into battle was always deeply upsetting for Jazz. He had a hard imagining how his best friend would cope if the worst-case scenario played out.

Primus, please let Soundwave be alive…Jazz thought to himself.

The silence in the room was all-consuming. Blaster sat on his berth with Ravage sprawled across his lap and Laserbeak hunkered down right beside him. Neither cassette showed any interest in recharging. Blaster sensed they were waiting. He glanced at the other end of the berth where Rumble and Frenzy sat side-by-side. Rumble was staring at the various posters Blaster had plastered across his quarter's walls. Frenzy had his gaze pinned on Ravage.

"You go to all these concerts?" Rumble asked, shattering the quiet.

Blaster nodded. "Yep. Most of 'em anyway."

"They're not freaking out now," Frenzy said in a softened voice.

"My guess is Soundwave's offline," Blaster replied as he lightly petted Ravage's back. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but Blaster took their calmness to mean that Soundwave was still alive, just not online to transmit his emotions to them.

"Maybe," Frenzy said in a flat tone.

This waiting was awful. Blaster found himself holding onto the last desperate shred of hope that Jazz would save Soundwave in time. Blaster dimmed his optics. The 'what if's' surrounding Soundwave felt so immense and overwhelming. Had he been alone, Blaster would have broken down into tears by now. But he was not alone. He needed to be strong for the cassettes now in his care.

He shifted his gaze to Frenzy and Rumble. No matter what happened, Blaster would look after Soundwave's cassettes as long he needed to. Even if that might mean the rest of his life… Blaster vaguely shuddered at that thought.

"This sucks slag. I don't wanna sit here waitin' like this!" Rumble said in a frustrated voice as he punched the berth.

"Don't dent his berth!" Frenzy snapped.

Rumble's posture deflated as he glanced at Blaster. "Sorry."

"Don't you worry 'bout it," Blaster replied. "This waitin' is pretty slaggin' awful."

"Yeah," they both replied at once.

The twins grew quiet and a thick silence once again enveloped the room. The lack of a full night's recharge coupled with the situation was starting to really wear on Blaster. All he truly wanted was to hear whether they found Soundwave yet or not.

"You look tired," Frenzy said.

Blaster glanced at him. "I am."

"Well, there isn't anything else to do, maybe we can recharge a little," Frenzy suggested.

"That sounds like a good idea, actually," Blaster replied with a weary smile.

After some shifting around on the berth, the cassettes each took up different spots beside Blaster. Ravage lay down, pressing up against him on one side. Laserbeak settled himself just next to his shoulder, and Frenzy curled up against Blaster's other side. Rumble stood beside them, frowning.

"Stop being a brat and lay down," Frenzy said.

"Frag you, Frenzy." Rumble's angry response sounded flat, though. "I don't want this. I want the Big Guy. I want Soundwave." Rumble looked almost distraught as he balled his hands into fists and his visor flickered. These mini-mechs had such large, complex emotions bottled up in their tiny frames.

"Look, I know I'm not him, but I do wanna care for you guys. If you'll lemmie," Blaster replied.

Rumble's frown deepened. "Stop being nice to us! I don't wanna like you!"

"Rumble…" Frenzy sat up, shaking his head at his brother.

"What's the point, anyway?" Rumble's small frame was shaking as he spoke. "We like him and stay with him, and then one day he'll die, too! We're bad luck, Frenzy!"

Ravage perked his head up to look over at Rumble, and Laserbeak also glanced in the mini mech's direction.

Blaster carefully sat up and reached out, lightly touching Rumble's arm. "Yer not bad luck."

Rumble jerked away from Blaster's hand. "Shut the frag up. You don't know nothin'! We not only lost our creator but all our siblings! Now the Big Guy might be next! It's not fraggin' fair!"

Fear and pain permeated the small cassette's words. Blaster understood what Rumble was feeling, though, having experienced a similar loss. For the longest time after Tracker's death, Blaster felt it had been unfair to lose him the way he had and he grew to distrust others when it came to his creations. "My very first creation died from laser fire in the field. I do know how you feel, Rumble. It's the kinda hurt that dulls, but never really ever goes away. And when stuff like this happens it gets all stirred up again and hurts just as badly as it did when it first happened."

Rumble's visor brightened and his mouth hung open as he stared at Blaster. "One of yer creations died?"

"Yeah." Blaster canted his head. "I'd already lost my entire family, so losin' him nearly broke my spark."

A sympathetic look crossed Rumble's face. "That must have really sucked slag."

"It did." Once again, Blaster reached out and lightly touched Rumble, this time placing his hand on his helm. "We don't know anythin' one way or the other 'bout Soundwave, though. So we just need to wait it out together. Okay?"

Rumble slowly nodded.

"So stop being such a fraggin' pain, and get some rest," Frenzy said with a small frown.

"Hmph. Okay," Rumble replied. He then focused on Blaster. "I don't mean to be trouble. I'm just really worried. The Bug Guy means everything to us..."

It was an admission of feelings Blaster knew they were all having simultaneously. "I know how ya feel."

Without another word, Rumble moved to where his brother sat and plopped down beside him. Blaster lay back once again, and the brothers carefully situated themselves beside him. Rumble ended up sandwiched between Frenzy and Blaster's side. In no time, both their visors went dark.

Blaster watched them, unable to as easily slip into a recharge state himself. His worry for their collective future loomed heavily in his mind. A life without Soundwave in it would deepen all their emotional scars. He prayed to Primus that his worst fears wouldn't be realized. That Soundwave would return to them... After all, Soundwave had promised he'd come back.

"Anythin' yet, 'Raj?" Jazz shouted from a few meters away as he scanned the debris under foot for signs of Soundwave.

"Not yet," Mirage replied. "Wait…Is that-?"

Had Mirage found Soundwave? Jazz quickly hopped over pieces of metal sheeting that lay between his and Mirage's position. He expected to see the telltale blue coloring of Soundwave's paneling, but instead his optics focused on a silvery-grey piece of paneling. It took a moment to register what he was looking at, but he finally recognized the twisted shape as what had once been an arm. Widening his view, he saw Megatron's arm cannon half crushed under a metal beam a meter or so away from the arm.

"Is that what I think it is?" Mirage asked, trepidation lacing his voice.

"Ol' Megs' arm? I'd say so. I wonder where the rest of him is at?" Jazz replied.

"I think that might be his torso." Mirage pointed to an area a few meters to their left.

Jazz carefully moved closer, stepping over the severed arm. Sure enough, what was left of Megatron's torso, minus the head, lay destroyed on the ground. Internal systems were exposed and burnt beyond recognition where the paneling had been blown off. It was one of the more gruesome sights Jazz had witnessed over the stellar cycles.

"That would be one very dead Megatron," Jazz said as he glanced back at Mirage.

Mirage frowned at Jazz. "That's good and bad news, isn't it?"

"Let's just keep lookin'," Jazz replied. He didn't want to face the facts that were quickly overwhelming his optimistic hopes for finding Soundwave alive. He needed to just keep moving.

Almost a breem passed, and they had combed almost the entire site. They were at the far side of where the moon base had once stood when Jazz picked up an active energy signal. He grew still, scanning the debris for Soundwave's dark blue color.

Like a beacon in the sea of light purple, twisted metal, a blue hand jutted upward. Jazz moved swiftly to the spot. "'Raj! Over here!"

The two converged on the exposed piece of Soundwave's body. Jazz desperately dug at the debris, tossing pieces aside to expose the rest of the Decepticon officer.

"I'm pickin' up an energy signal," Jazz said as he lifted a last, large piece of metal paneling away.

Beneath the paneling lay Soundwave's battered frame. His helm was dented in on one side, and his facemask appeared to barely be attached. Scratches and deep dents marred his entire frame. Several of his left leg's connecting cables were snapped, and energon stained the white paneling of his thigh. Along the one side of his torso, the paneling had split open. Energon and mech fluid mixed, slowly seeping from the gaping wound. The injuries would have been fatal to any normal mech.

Mirage lightly touched Soundwave's hand. "He's warm, Jazz. How's that even possible?"

"I dunno. But let's hurry and get 'im outta here." Jazz opened his comm. line to Omega Supreme. :: Jazz to Omega, we got a critical condition mech here, request immediate pick up and transport. ::

:: Omega will comply with your request. :: the Guardian replied.

Reaching out, Jazz lightly placed his hand on Soundwave's chest. "Don't you fraggin' die, got it? Hang on just a lil' longer."


After a little time recharging, all of Soundwave's cassettes were once again awake. Ravage sat beside Blaster, while Laserbeak tried out various locations in the room to perch on. Soundwave's creations no longer seemed agitated or lethargic. Blaster read their shift in behavior as a good sign. Perhaps they had felt Soundwave's spark connection to them. Blaster knew if he were parted from his creations, he'd be in as much spark contact as possible with them. He just wished someone would officially relay news about Soundwave and the situation.

Frenzy sat near Blaster on the berth, watching Ravage and Laserbeak intently. "They seem to be actin' like themselves again."

"Yeah they do," Rumble replied. He stood beside the small city of parts Eject and Rewind had built in the corner of the room, curiously inspecting it. "I wish they'd fraggin' tell us somethin' already."

"Me, too," Blaster replied.

Vibrations from within told Blaster his creations wanted out. Without thinking, Blaster lightly rubbed his chest in response to their internal shifting. At one point or another, his creations were going to meet Soundwave's cassettes. He had wanted Soundwave present when it happened, though.

"Your cassettes want out?" Frenzy asked.

Blaster glanced at Frenzy. He was certainly observant. "Yeah, they do."

Frenzy's apprehension seemed to lift away for a moment. "How many ya got?"

"I have four," Blaster replied. His cassettes sent another wave of energy to show their impatience. It seemed that waiting for Soundwave wasn't going to be an option.

"Can we meet 'em?" Frenzy asked, sounding eager.

Blaster tried to calm his creations through their bond, but their collective desire to be freed easily overrode his attempt to quiet them. "Um, I guess so."

Rumble walked over and crossed his arms over his chest while frowning at Blaster. "You don't want them to meet us?"

"It's not that." Blaster frowned a little. "I don't let 'em out around anyone, usually. But the thing is, they've never even seen other creations before. They might be a lil' shy."

"We won't get in their faces or anything." Frenzy slid off the berth the floor and motioned to Ravage. "Come down here, Ravage."

Ravage canted his head at Frenzy, then looked at Blaster. He stared at Blaster intensely for a moment, then jumped down to join Frenzy and Rumble.

"Get over here, 'Beak." Rumble waved at Laserbeak, who left his spot atop Blaster's shelves to land next to his siblings.

Blaster gazed at them, remembering a time when he used to fight these four. He still clearly remembered the conflict he used to feel shooting at another mech's creations. Now he was going share with them his own precious creations. It struck him then how much had changed in so little time. As he got to his feet, his spark fluttered nervously. He offered the four a small smile before ejecting his creations.

The moment Rewind landed and saw Soundwave's cassettes, he ran behind Blaster's leg, clinging tightly to him. Steeljaw sat down beside Rewind, offering his sibling some measure of comfort. Eject, on the other hand, wandered right up to the four. He was fearless in the face of the new visitors. "Hello! I'm Eject!"

The two brothers looked shocked to see Eject and Rewind.

"Hi," Rumble replied, his visor burning brightly.

"You have mini-mechs," Frenzy said, clearly in awe. "You didn't say you had mini-mechs like us."

"Well, they aren't matured like you two. They can talk more now, though," Blaster said as he shifted his gaze to Ramhorn.

Ramhorn didn't usually show much of a reaction when meeting anyone new, which made his currently unwavering gaze on Ravage stand out to Blaster. Ravage did look very similar to Tracker, and Ramhorn was the only creation that had known Blaster's first creation. Scooping Rewind up in one arm, Blaster crouched down beside Ramhorn. "That's Ravage. He's Soundwave's first creation," he said as he lightly patted Ramhorn's back.

"Does Ravage look like the one you had that died?" Frenzy asked.

"He does," Blaster replied.

Ramhorn took a tentative step closer. Ravage stood and closed the gap. They tapped noses in a friendly gesture, then Ramhorn gently bumped Ravage's side with his head. Blaster tensed, unsure how Ravage would react to Ramhorn's request to play. After all, he was trained to fight mechs much larger than himself. He could hurt Ramhorn if he chose to. Ravage canted his head, then jumped back in an equally playful gesture. The two then hopped around, half chasing half-taunting one another. Blaster relaxed as he watched. The fun proved too much to resist, and Steeljaw quickly joined in chasing the other two around the small room. Laserbeak took off and landed on the berth to watch the melee from a safe distance and add his squawks every once in a while.

"Heh! I've never seen Ravage play like that," Frenzy said with a huge grin.

"Me neither," Rumble said, looking surprised.

"Play?" Rewind asked, looking up at Blaster with bright optics.

"Of course ya can." Blaster set Rewind down beside his brother.

Eject grabbed Frenzy's hand, and tugged. "Come on."

"Huh?" Frenzy stared Eject with a puzzled look.

"That city of parts over there is theirs. Eject wants to show you," Blaster explained.

"Ohhh, okay." Frenzy smiled. "Hey, can Rumble come, too?" he asked Eject.

Eject glanced at Rumble, then nodded fervently.

In a matter of moments, their collective creations had made friends with one another. Blaster settled on the floor, content for the moment to watch them. It didn't quell his worry about Soundwave's safety, but it eased the overall tension in the room considerably. For a few blissful moments, everyone relaxed a little and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Then, without warning, the door to Blaster's room opened.

Panic struck Blaster hard, and he jumped to his feet, putting himself between the doorway and all the cassettes.

Prowl stepped into the room, and the door hissed shut behind him.

"What the frag, Prowl?" Blaster yelled, exposing his anger at the lack of courtesy. "Ever heard of a buzzer?"

"Hi!" Eject said, loudly.

Prowl's doorwings perked up in response to the contrast in greetings as he focused on Blaster's mini-mechs sitting with Frenzy and Rumble on the far side of the room.

Blaster clenched his hands into fists. "What do you want, Prowl?"

Prowl's gaze immediately snapped back to Blaster. "I've come to relay news regarding Soundwave. I do apologize for upsetting you by not announcing my entrance. I didn't think you'd have your own cassettes out."

As much as Blaster wanted to pummel Prowl for his lack of 'thinking', he wanted to hear the news about Soundwave more. "What about him? Did Jazz find him?"

Rumble and Frenzy joined Blaster at his side.

"What happened? Where is he?" Rumble asked.

"Is he hurt?" Frenzy also asked.

"Jazz located him at the moonbase site shortly after it exploded." Prowl's voice took on a dry, detached tone. "He was in dire condition and transported as quickly as possible to medbay. Ratchet was able to stabilize his condition, but due to his extensive injuries, he will be staying in medbay for the time being."

Extensive injuries? Stabilized? Explosion? What the frag had Soundwave done? Blaster felt like his processor was spinning. His fuel tank lurched at the idea that Soundwave had been badly hurt. Then he suddenly remembered Soundwave had a sparklet attached to his spark. "What about his sparklet? Did Ratchet—"

"Ratchet also reported he extracted a sparklet as soon as he found it. It's in a stasis chamber until Wheeljack finishes creating a body for it." Prowl's cold expression softened. "Again, Blaster, I do apologize for not announcing my arrival. I wanted to give you the news as soon as I was able to."

Blaster canted his head at Prowl. "I'm surprised Jazz didn't come tell me."

"Jazz and Mirage are undergoing minor repairs," Prowl said with a small frown.

"Repairs? For what?" Blaster asked.

"They were in close proximity to the explosion and received surface damage. Due to Soundwave's grim condition, they had to wait for treatment." Prowl's doorwings drooped slightly as he spoke.

"So, the Big Guy's gonna be okay, though? And the sparklet, too?" Frenzy asked, refocusing the conversation on what was far more important to him.

Prowl nodded. "I believe so. And Prime will allow you to visit with him when Ratchet deems it appropriate."

Rumble crossed his arms over his small chest. "When will that be?"

"I do not know at this time," Prowl replied.

Both Frenzy and Rumble looked unhappy with the open-ended reply. "So fraggin' annoyin'," Rumble grumbled.

"I wish I had a clearer time frame to offer, but it's all up to Ratchet and what he feels is best for Soundwave," Prowl replied.

"But you said he's stable?" Blaster asked.

Prowl's gaze locked with Blaster's. "At this time, yes."

Blaster felt relieved and upset at the same time. If he'd known that Soundwave was going to risk his very life, he would have tried to stop him… Frowning, Blaster felt like a failure for not better protecting Soundwave like he had wanted to, and placing his trust in Soundwave's assurances, instead. Part of him was angry with Soundwave for taking such a huge risk without really telling Blaster how much danger he was really placing himself in, but a bigger part of him was relieved that at least he was still alive.

"I will be sure to update you when I know more, as well as ring the buzzer before entering next time," Prowl said, interrupting Blaster's thoughts.

"Sure," Blaster replied flatly. Prowl's rudeness was now the least of Blaster's concerns.

Prowl turned and the door opened. "Hopefully everything will be resolved sooner rather than later," he said as he glanced over his shoulder at Blaster, offering a sympathetic look before he exited the small room.

Blaster glanced down at Rumble and Frenzy who were exchanging worried looks at one another.

What a mess this had all become. All the energy he'd devoted to remaining emotionally stable for the sake of Soundwave's cassettes had left him totally exhausted. He could feel his emotional fortitude crumbling at the edges.

In a daze, Blaster sat down on the berth. His processor still locked in conflicting reactions to the news. Anger at his own lack of diligence, hurt that Soundwave hadn't been totally up-front about his plans, and yet he was also relived to know that his love wasn't dead. All these thoughts and reactions crammed his processor at once, causing it to ache dully.

He felt small hands on his legs and looked down to see Eject and Rewind both peering up at him along with all the rest of the cassettes, his and Soundwave's alike.

"You okay?" Frenzy asked.

Tears pooled on Blaster's optics. He wasn't okay. He shook his head, and forced a smile at the same time.

"You don't gotta pretend to be okay for us, ya know," Rumble said with a small frown.

Blaster couldn't find his voice to reply and half smiled at Rumble. He then slid off the berth to the floor, and his mini-mechs crawled into his lap. Blaster hugged them to his chest, while the rest of the cassettes all moved in close, sitting around him. At least I'm not all alone, he thought as he gazed at them and finally allowed himself to let go, sobbing out of both frustration and relief. He just needed to remind himself that at least he now knew Soundwave was alive.

Heavy darkness felt like it was growing lighter. Soundwave very slowly felt himself moving toward that light feeling. His worries and concerns were long forgotten as the lightness filled him. It felt warm and comforting in a way he'd not known since his parents had been alive- No wait. He'd felt it more recently around Blaster. When he'd hug him close, gaze into his optics, kiss him...

"Promise me that no matter what happens, you'll come back to me."

Blaster... Blaster had asked him to come back. But Soundwave didn't know where he was, so how could he get back to him? He focused on his memories of Blaster and how it had felt to be around him, desperate to keep his promise.

Suddenly, Soundwave's optics lit. He grunted at the pain signals registering across his sensory net. The ceiling overhead slowly came into focus. He stared at the distinct patterns that ran across it and noticed that it was orange in color. Turning his head to the side, he saw a life support system lit up and apparently working hard just beside where he lay. His gaze traced the path of the set of thick cords that led from the machine to his own frame.

Staring down across his own body, he was shocked at the sight. Seams from repairs criss-crossed in messy lines over just about every panel of his frame. His chest plate had been removed entirely, and the path of cords from the life support machine ended inside his exposed chest.

He wasn't dead. But from the looks of it, he'd barely survived.

With concentrated effort, Soundwave lifted one hand up to touch his face. As he suspected, his mask had been removed along with his visor.

The door to the room slid open and the Autobot medic, Ratchet, walked in.

"Welcome back to the land of the conscious," the medic said as he moved to the life support system and accessed the computer terminal beside it, checking readings. "Your systems are stabilizing finally. That was one nasty virus I had to purge from your systems. I wasn't sure you'd make it to be honest."

'Make it.' Soundwave glanced down at his open chest feeling within his spark for the sparklet he'd hoped had also made it. He still vaguely felt it, but there was no pain in his spark associated with it. Was it no longer attached to his spark? If so, where was it? Had it survived?

"The sparklet," Soundwave managed to croak out.

"I saved it. In the nick of time, I might add." Ratchet walked around the berth and pulled a rolling table in the room closer to where Soundwave lay. On top of the table sat a globe-shaped glassy container set on a base. In the center beat a tiny sparklet. His sparklet.

"How?" Soundwave asked, in awe of the sight of his own sparklet, naked and glowing inside the container.

"This is a stasis incubator. Usually use it for sparklings, but works for your little guy here, too. It'll be safe in here until Wheeljack finishes making a body for it." Ratchet heaved a thick sigh of air from his intakes as he looked down at Soundwave. "You're gonna be here for a while. Despite the fact you've survived, there are a lot of repairs left to be made and I need to keep checking to be sure that virus was totally removed."

Soundwave dimmed his optics. A while? Did that mean he wouldn't get to see his cassettes and Blaster anytime soon? "My cassettes?" he asked, straining to speak.

Ratchet canted his head. "They're doing well. Prime is going to let them visit you for short periods of time, but you won't be able to carry them in your sub-space pocket until you're doing much better. Until then, they're staying with Blaster."

Blaster… He wanted to see the mech that changed everything. The one he'd turned his entire world upside down for. "And Blaster?" Soundwave asked, hoping his two-word question was enough to convey his desire to see him, too.

Ratchet frowned deeply. "Until further notice, you two are not allowed to interact directly."

The pain that permeated Soundwave's frame from his injuries paled in comparison to the sharp pain Ratchet's words unleashed within Soundwave's spark. He wouldn't be allowed to see Blaster? After all he'd done to secure the safety of those he loved, he would be barred from seeing the mech that meant everything to him? Soundwave shifted his gaze back to the ceiling, fighting the overwhelming desire to break down in tears. Repressing emotions was much easier with a mask and visor to hide behind, though. He knew he was wincing, and hoped the medic would think it was from his injuries.

Ratchet placed a hand on his shoulder. "Look, I'm not gonna pretend to know what happened between you two, but I do know that being a dual-pulse sparked mech isn't easy. I've cared for several over the eons, and I know that it's a painfully lonely existence. That includes Blaster. So I get why you two connected in the first place." Reluctantly, Soundwave shifted his gaze to the medic. He seemed so different than past medics that Soundwave had dealt with. "But this isn't the Golden Age. We are in the middle of a war, and Blaster broke all sorts of regulations. He's gotta face the consequences."

Anger mixed with his frustration. Once again, those around Soundwave trampled his desires. He couldn't have what he wanted. He'd killed Megatron for these ungrateful Autobots, nearly losing his life in the process. All he wanted in return was to be with those he loved: his cassettes and Blaster. "Frag this war," Soundwave replied.

Ratchet sadly frowned. "I tend to agree. But the most important thing right now is to get better, and that means you need more rest." The medic pressed a command into the panel beside Soundwave's berth and almost instantly he was forced back into a recharge state.

His last flickering thoughts were of Blaster. But they only offered a little bit of comfort against the tidal wave of pain he now found himself floating in. It was all so unfair.

Time blurred together in an agonizing series of waking moments where pain permeated both Soundwave's spark as well as his body. It was easier to remain offline, which he forced himself to do as much as possible.

A hand on his arm woke him from his current recharge, causing an all too familiar burning feeling across his plating. He moved his arm away from the touch as he dimly lit his optics. Ratchet stood beside him, offering a sad-looking smile.

"I have two surprises for you," Ratchet said.

Soundwave frowned, since he knew neither surprise would involve Blaster.

"Wheeljack finished the frame for your sparklet," Ratchet said. "Plus your cassettes are here for their first visit."

"The sparklet?" Soundwave asked.

"Yep, he's happy and healthy. Him and all your cassettes are just outside." Ratchet canted his head. "You ready to see them?"

Soundwave glanced at the doorway, and a nervous fluttered feeling rippled through his fuel tank. He then glanced down at his chest. A temporary piece of plating now covered where his glassy chest piece had been. There were a series of openings along one side to allow the ugly life support wiring to connect to his internals. He shook his head as he locked gazes with Ratchet. "Do not want them to worry."

"They are worried regardless," Ratchet replied.

Frowning deeply, Soundwave let out a sigh of air from his intakes in resignation and then he finally nodded in agreement.

Ratchet exited then came back in, leading in Soundwave's small troop of cassettes.

"Big Guy!" Frenzy said excitedly.

Rumble and Frenzy both hopped up onto the chair beside the berth, while his newest creation and Laserbeak flew over and landed next to Soundwave each offering squawks. In awe of his newest creation, Soundwave reached out to touch him, lightly patting his back as their gazes met for the first time. Happiness permeated their thin bond, which instantly brought a smile to Soundwave's face. His first smile in what felt like forever.

Ravage then jumped up onto the berth, to Ratchet's chagrin.

"Whoa there, you need to be careful. He's still very fragile and healing," Ratchet said directly to Ravage. Other than Megatron, no other mechs ever addressed Soundwave's cassettes directly. Soundwave found it interesting that this medic wasn't like any other medic that had cared for him before. Ravage gingerly stepped forward, taking a seat on the side opposite Laserbeak and his new creation.

"You don't have your mask," Frenzy said, looking a little surprised.

They had seen his face before, but it had been a very, very long time ago. "It is broken," Soundwave simply replied. In truth, he didn't want his visor and mask back. Blaster said he was handsome without them, and when he did eventually get to see him again, he wanted it to be as he truly was. Scars and all.

Frenzy then sheepishly smiled. "You look nice without it."

"The rest of you looks like slag," Rumble said with a frown.

"I know," Soundwave replied.

"Rumble…" Frenzy jabbed his brother in the side.

Rumble frowned at Frenzy. "But, ah, anyway, the new guy and Laserbeak seem to like each other a lot." Rumble canted head, glancing at the new addition. "What's his name gonna be?"

Soundwave hadn't considered what he might call his new creation. The future of this creation had been so clouded; he'd never imagined it would have survived. It had been quite tenacious sparklet to endure everything it had been through. He gazed at his new creation for a long moment, unsure what name would be fitting.

"'Falconfire'?" Rumble offered.

"That sounds like an Autobot," Frenzy replied with a frown.

"What about 'Predator'? Like that human movie we watched," Rumble suggested with a grin.

Frenzy gave his brother a 'you are insane' look as he shook his head. "Actually, I've been thinking about it a lot." Frenzy looked back over at Soundwave. "What about 'Buzzsaw'?" Frenzy said, with a hopeful look.

"That's a cool name," Rumble replied.

It was a 'cool' name. It sounded tough and seemed to fit him. Smiling, Soundwave nodded. "That is an appropriate name."

Ravage whined and pressed his face into Soundwave's hand. Shifting his attention, he lightly patted Ravage's head, sending his reassurances through their bond. Both birds happily hunkered down together on his other side, seemingly content to be close to him. Sadness suddenly hit Soundwave hard, making his gut feel heavy. He missed being around them so much. In the face of life's hardships these cassettes had always been his steadfast companions, but now he faced much of his recovery completely alone.

"Blaster's been takin' good care of all us, too," Frenzy said.

Soundwave knew Frenzy mentioned Blaster to cheer him up, but his spark immediately spiked with pain in response. Wincing slightly, he nodded to Frenzy. "That is good."

"Hey you," Rumble said to Ratchet.

Ratchet canted his head. "Yes?"

"How much longer 'til the Big Guy is outta here?"

"It's going be a while, yet. He's still on the life support machine right now," Ratchet replied.

"Then why the frag can't Blaster come see him, too? This is a load of slag only lettin' us in here. After everythin' the Big Guy did to save your sorry afts you fraggin' Autobrats won't let him see the mech you trust to look after us? It makes no sense!" Rumble's voice was sharp with his conviction.

"I don't have control over that decision," Ratchet replied.

Ravage whined, looking at the medic.

"It's total slag and you know it," Rumble said.

Soundwave glanced at Ratchet, seeing the medic's own frustration written across his face. Soundwave agreed with his cassettes, but he also knew he was in no condition to fight against his current captors. No matter how much he wished he could break out of medbay and steal Blaster away, he had no choice but to resign himself to his current fate. Primus, he loathed feeling so incredibly helpless and alone.

"Trust me. If I had control over things, they'd be much different," Ratchet replied.

"Hmph, you Autobrats are so useless," Rumble replied as he crossed his arms across his small chest.

Frenzy frowned, then lightly fingered Soundwave's arm. "You want us to tell 'im anything for ya?"

Both mini-mechs stared intently at Soundwave, clearly wanting to help if they could.

"Or maybe I just need to knock out the walls between here and his room?" Rumble said, with a maniacal-looking grin.

A small, sad-looking smile pulled at Soundwave's lips. "Tell him I miss him."

"We will." Frenzy squeezed Soundwave's arm.

When will this all finally be over? Soundwave wondered. Pushing on in the face of such isolation was much harder than he'd imagined. He just wanted his life to be his again. Was that so much to ask for? To not be left all alone with nothing more than his pain? His body was sore, his spark deeply ached, and he was no longer in control over what happened to him. He didn't even have his cassettes as constant companions to help take the edge off this sharp loneliness.

He'd found the mech that filled the void in his spark, only to have that hole feel larger than ever now. Soundwave realized that it wasn't so much a matter of when he'd see the light at the end of this new dark tunnel he was in, but whether he was going to be strong enough to make it there. If he did manage to make it, he promised himself he'd finally say three words he'd never spoken to anyone before.

Next time he saw Blaster he was going to tell him he loved him. He just hoped he would make it 'next time'.

Ratchet shifted uneasily in his seat in the conference room. Optimus Prime had called in his high-ranking officers for a status meeting.

Caring for Soundwave over the last orn had been a lot of work. Isolation in medbay only exacerbated his patient's delicate condition. While Ratchet had some reservations at first about caring for a Decepticon, they had all been swept away over the last couple of Earth weeks. The Decepticon communications officer had always appeared to be a cold, uncaring mech from afar, but up close he was very different. Soundwave showered his cassettes with affection when they came to visit, destroying the image of a stoic, unfeeling monster Ratchet had of him.

Ratchet had also been surprised to discover that Soundwave was much younger than he had initially thought. Soundwave's youth not only showed in his face, but in how he behaved with Rumble and Frenzy, too. They always took on a somewhat parental role with him when they visited, advocating for him and comforting him.

This former enemy no longer felt threatening to Ratchet now that he saw in Soundwave what Blaster must have already discovered.

"Starscream has asked for a sit down meeting with myself and Prowl to discuss a possible cease fire," Optimus said, reporting the most recent twist in events.

Ratchet vaguely registered Optimus' words before slipping back into his thoughts.

Despite the time and effort put into Soundwave's repairs, he wasn't recovering as quickly as Ratchet thought he should be. Each visit with Soundwave's cassettes seemed to help his mood, but the moment they were gone, he'd shut down all over again. His periods of recharging far exceeded what he needed now that he was off the life support system. Ratchet recognized the behavior as depression. It was settling over Soundwave and hindering his healing progress. Autorepair systems that should have been busily working away were sluggish and only performing the bare minimum in repairs, leaving Ratchet to continually make repairs himself. No amount of his intervention would be enough, though. Soundwave needed to heal himself for most benefit.

"Ratchet?" Optimus asked, apparently repeating himself.

"Sorry, sir. What was the question?" Ratchet asked.

"Just inquiring about Soundwave's progress," Optimus replied.

"Same. Not much better than two Earth days ago, or even an Earth week ago." Ratchet didn't bothering hiding his irritation.

"I see. Is there no hope of his recovering fully?" Optimus asked.

Deeply frowning, Ratchet steeled himself as he replied. "So long as Soundwave is kept apart from Blaster and his cassettes, he won't get better." His gaze flitted across the faces of his fellow officers. Ironhide looked annoyed, Jazz looked disappointed, and Prowl looked indifferent.

Optimus looked concerned. "It's a complicated situation, Ratchet. While I do believe in my spark no ill harm was intended by Blaster's actions, I can't reward his behavior, either."

"So you let Soundwave suffer as a result?" Ratchet shook his head. "I get it. Rules and whatnot, but in this case, I don't agree."

"Yeah, I'm with Ratch. They've been through Pit already. Let's just let 'em bunk in the same room and keep guards on 'em or something," Jazz said.

"We still don't know if Soundwave was tryin' to manipulate Blaster into doin' somethin' he shouldn't," Ironhide replied.

"Soundwave's the one that blew Ol' Megs to bits," Jazz responded.

"That don't mean nothin' and you know it, Jazz. Yer just feelin' guilty over whatever happened 'tween you and Blaster," Ironhide replied with a frown.

"That has nothing to do with anythin' 'Hide—" Jazz's reply was cut short as Optimus lifted his hand up, motioning for them to quiet down.

"May I add my input?" Prowl asked.

Optimus nodded. "Please, do."

Ratchet internally cringed. Prowl tended to always go with facts and the fact was, Blaster broke protocols, endangering them all.

"I do not condone Blaster's actions. However, taking into consideration the new era of possible peace, I believe treating Soundwave as a prisoner here would only damage what little relations we've established with the Decepticons. By placing him with Blaster, he'd have attentive care as he recovers. I would recommend we allow him to share a space with Blaster and keep them both under guard for the time being for their protection." Prowl's take surprised Ratchet a little, and yet the reasoning was very 'Prowl-like'.

Looking to Optimus, Ratchet wondered how their leader would take the suggestion.

"You make a good point, Prowl." Optimus glanced at Ratchet. "And you believe his condition might improve if we moved him into a space with his cassettes and Blaster?"

Ratchet nodded. "I do."

"Jazz, you choose a couple of mechs you trust to clear out the storage area at the end of the hallway that runs by medbay. That space should be large enough for all of them, and keep him within distance of medical care, should he need it," Optimus ordered.

Ironhide crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head, but made no verbal protest.

"Great! I'll git right on it!" Jazz replied with a huge grin.

Relief at the news helped ease Ratchet's worries considerably. He hated seeing his patients suffer, even one that was a former enemy.

Darkness wrapped around Blaster despite the overhead lights burning brightly in his quarters. He had just put Soundwave's cassettes in the recharge device Wheeljack had made for them. He crouched down to press his hand to the surface of the device. It vibrated at Soundwave's spark pulse rate, causing a light vibration over the surface of the container. The sensation reminded Blaster of touching Soundwave's chest and feeling his spark's unique pulse vibrating beneath. Tears pooled on his optics. Why did this hurt so much? How did he manage to fall so in love with Soundwave so fast?

Every evening, Blaster considered recharging on the floor curled around the recharge unit, but so far he'd not given into his desperation. He finally got to his feet, and wandered to his berth, plopping down to sit. His gaze lingered on the unit as his processor replayed memory files of their handful of encounters. He just wanted to see Soundwave again.

A knock at the door startled Blaster, causing him to jump in his seat. He stared at the door completely confused, since it was late in the evening. Who in the name of Primus would be here now? Were they here to tell him bad news about Soundwave? His spark contracted in its chamber in response to his fearful thoughts. The door cycled open and Blaster was met with the familiar sight of Jazz's grinning visage.

"Hey there! You weren't rechargin' yet, were ya?" Jazz asked, his smile fading as their gazes met.

Blaster had done his best to hold together during these last few Earth weeks, but it was taking a significant toll on him. He no longer had the energy or even the desire to force smiles, or to pretend he was okay when he wasn't. "No."

Jazz suddenly looked worried. "Uh, well, sorry to barge in so late but—"

"Hey Blaster!" Bluestreak entered the room, too, carrying several empty containers. His smile also faltered when his gaze landed on Blaster.

His friends had stopped by on occasion over the last couple Earth weeks, but never for very long and always while all the cassettes were out. Exhausted and emotionally fraying, Blaster softly sighed air from his intakes. I must look like slag, Blaster thought.

"We've got a surprise fer ya." Jazz plucked a container from Bluestreak's grip. "But first we gotta pack up some of yer things."

Blaster frowned. "Pack up my things?"

"You're getting moved to a bigger room," Bluestreak replied with a grin.

Blaster vaguely frowned. "Moved? 'Cause of the cassettes?"

"Yeah, partly. Come'on. Let's git yer stuff packed up," Jazz said as he held out the empty container to Blaster.

Still unsure of what it all meant, Blaster took the container and helped them take down his posters and empty his desk and closet. Jazz's small smile the whole time told him something was going on. A touch of hope that something good might finally happen resonated in Blaster's spark for the first time in several Earth weeks. Maybe he would finally get to see Soundwave. He decided not to ask, though, and just do as he was directed, not wanting to ruin his renewed feeling of hope.


"All right, here we go," Ratchet said as he helped Soundwave to his feet.

Soundwave's limbs protested the forced movement as he stood up from the medbay berth he'd been trapped on for weeks now. Ratchet's arm wrapped around Soundwave's waist to help keep him steady, but it was extremely uncomfortable. He stepped forward with concentrated effort, and found he was sore in more places than he even knew he had. He grunted at the pain but pushed forward with another step.

"Good," Ratchet said in an encouraging tone. "How's that pain reducer unit on your chest working? Is it helping at all?"

Glancing at the round object jutting off his freshly repaired chest plate, he ran a sensory test. The pain he felt was being dampened significantly, which was a little worrisome since he still hurt a lot. "It is helping."

"Great. Now let's get you down the hallway, okay?" Ratchet carefully guided Soundwave toward the door of the room. On the other side stood Wheeljack and Optimus Prime. Soundwave's faceplates flashed with heat. How embarrassing to be seen like this by the Autobot leader…

The walk was agonizingly slow as Ratchet led him out of medbay and down the hallway with Wheeljack and Prime following behind them. He fought back the urge to shy away from Ratchet's grip on him, knowing it was the only thing keeping him from toppling over, despite the burning feeling the medic's touches were causing.

Soundwave glanced down the hallway, noticing a door at the end. Was that their destination? He hadn't bothered asking why he was being forced to move, or what the point of all this was. In truth, a thick numbness had enveloped him almost completely. It only peeled away momentarily when he was allowed to see his cassettes. He had fought and risked his very life to be free to love Blaster, and ended up locked away in a medbay room all alone. Succumbing to the numbness had been the only way to survive.

"Considering the extent of damage that virus did, I'm impressed with how well you are walking, Soundwave," Ratchet commented as they drew closer to the door. "It'll take time for your relays to totally recover, but I have confidence they will."

If not for that fragging virus, Soundwave knew he would have recovered much quicker. He frowned as he internally cursed that aft, Shockwave. He wondered if his fellow Meblonian had survived. He hoped not.

"Here we are," Wheeljack said as he waved his hand over the entry pad.

The door opened revealing three mechs inside. One was Blaster.

Soundwave's spark instantly surged at the sight. Blaster was crouched down with his back to the doorway arranging what looked like scrap parts in the corner of the room. Blaster then glanced over his shoulder and their gazes met for the first time is just over an orn. Slowly, Blaster turned and stood up. He looked utterly shocked to see Soundwave.

Ratchet carefully led Soundwave to the berth in the room, helping him to sit down. Soundwave was relieved to have the medic let go of him.

"This right here is a pain-reducer," Ratchet said as he lightly tapped the disk magnetically stuck to Soundwave's chest. "Blaster, you need to help him change it out whenever the light turns yellow. Just switch it for a charged one." Ratchet gestured to Wheeljack. The engineer set down a charger and a few extra units on the table in the corner of the room. "The intercom in here goes directly to medbay," Ratchet said as he glanced at Soundwave. "If you need anything at all, use it."

Optimus Prime then spoke. "This will be your shared quarters for the time being. For your safety and the safety of the crew, a guard will remain posted on the door. And Blaster, you remain stripped of your position as an active crew member for now."

"I understand, and thank you, for all this, sir," Blaster replied, in a respectful tone.

The black and white Autobot, Jazz, patted Blaster's arm. "Let's all get outta here. I think they more than earned some alone time," Jazz said with a huge grin.

"Of course," Prime replied.

The extra mechs all shuffled out of the room, and the door cycled shut.

For the first time in what felt like an eternity, Soundwave was alone with Blaster. He looked over at Blaster as a nervous smile curved his lips. "Hello, again."

"Hi," Blaster said. He frowned, then averted his gaze.

Confused by the reaction, Soundwave canted his head. "I have missed you."

Shaking his head, Blaster didn't reply. In fact, he appeared to be crying. Soundwave noticed tears of coolant roll down his sweet face. A moment of silence seemed to stretch on forever before Blaster finally spoke in a small, fragile-sounding voice. "You almost died. You almost left me all alone."

A wave of guilt rolled through Soundwave. "I apologize." He suddenly realized the impact his decisions had made on Blaster. He had been so busy dealing with his own personal pain, it never occurred to him that his risky choices had by proxy hurt the one he was trying to protect.

Focusing, Soundwave forced himself to stand and then took a stiff step forward, but afraid of losing his balance, he stopped. He stared at Blaster, unsure what to say or do to make things right. "But I did not die. I kept my promise to you."

Blaster's gaze lifted upward and he finally looked at Soundwave, again. "Yeah. You did keep your promise."

Soundwave's lips curved into a small, pouted frown. "I have unintentionally harmed you."

A gust of air escaped Blaster's intakes with a soft hiss. "Well, you didn't really tell me your intentions in the first place. I wanted to look after you, but I couldn't do anythin'," More tears pooled on his optics. "As mad I probably should be, I'm actually not. I'm just… really overwhelmed by everythin' that's happened, exhausted from tryin' to keep it together, and even though you're standing right there, it's like this doesn't even feel real." Blaster shook his head as his gaze returned the floor between them.

Without thinking, Soundwave tried to move toward Blaster, wanting to hold him and make a physical connection to offer comfort and cement the reality of their changed world. His step forward should have been a simple task, but the stiffness in his joints caused him to stumble. Blaster reacted quickly, swooping in and grabbing him by the arm to help steady his balance just like the first time they touched at the concert when his sparklet had the painful growth spurt. Warmth from Blaster's touch caused a ripple of pleasure across Soundwave's sensory net as he stood staring into Blaster's brilliant blue optics.

"Primus, yer so fraggin' cute." Blaster laughed a little, despite his teary optics. "Here, sit back down."

They sat side by side on the berth. Soundwave took hold of Blaster's hand and laced their fingers together in an attempt to tether him in place. Blaster's gaze wandered Soundwave's frame. His optics seemed to trace every repair seam that criss-crossed his plating. "Primus, look at all your injuries. That pain thingie helpin' at all?"

"Somewhat." Soundwave realized that from the moment he walked through the door and saw Blaster he'd actually forgotten about the aching pain he was in. "Seeing you helped more than the device."

Their gazes met and Blaster warmly smiled. Soundwave's spark swelled and fluttered in his chest in response. It felt so amazing. The loneliness that seemed like it might consume him whole was long gone, replaced with a feeling of completeness.

Blaster glanced down at their linked hands, his optics becoming glassy once again. This was a happy moment, so why did Blaster still seem so sad? "Why are you crying?" Soundwave asked.

Shaking his head, Blaster squeezed Soundwave's hand. "I don't know." Blaster glanced up, his teary optics focusing on Soundwave. "This shouldn't be happenin'. We shouldn't be sittin' here holdin' hands, but... we are."

"But, that is a good thing. Is it not?" Soundwave asked, still not quite understanding.

Blaster's tears still flowed as he smiled. "It's a wonderful thing. An amazing, practically miracle thing." Blaster softly signed air from his intakes. "Hey, will you promise me somethin' else, though?"

"What is it?" Soundwave asked.

"Promise you won't go and kill Megatron, again."

Confused, Soundwave frowned a little. "He is already deceased."

"I know." Blaster half-smiled. "Just promise you won't do somethin' that crazy again without me."

Understanding what Blaster meant, Soundwave nodded as he squeezed his hand. "I promise." He then reached up with his free hand and wiped away some of the coolant on Blaster's cheek. "There is something important I would like to tell you."

A concerned look swept across Blaster's face. "You sound kinda serious. What is it?"

"Something I have never told anyone before." Soundwave straightened his posture. "I want you to know that I love you."

Blaster's optics grew over-bright and he squeezed Soundwave's hand hard. "Soundwave-I…I love you, too."

They were just words, but their impact hit Soundwave like a cargo freighter. His spark pulsed like crazy in his chest and his body tingled all over. Blaster leaned in close and lightly touched their noses.

"This still doesn't feel real, but it does feel amazing," Blaster said with a grin, before tipping his head slightly and ghosting his lips against Soundwave's. "Say it again," Blaster whispered.

"I love you," Soundwave replied.

"I love you," Blaster said just before locking their lips in a gentle, soft-mouthed kiss.

The void inside Soundwave not only filled, but also overflowed with a love so intense he wasn't sure how his body was containing it. The brief kiss ended, and Blaster pulled back to stare deeply into his optics.

"I honestly wasn't expectin' that," Blaster said with a grin. All traces of his confusing sadness were now gone. "But you're nothin' like I expected from the start, so I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised."

Soundwave leaned forward to press their helms together. After so much strife, he just wanted to pause time at this amazing moment. Freeze-frame and capture how happy Blaster now looked. Drink in the joy of not only being reunited, but also knowing he was loved in return.

"Here," Blaster scooted over on the berth, then patted the space behind him. "You should lay down."

Soundwave glanced at the space and frowned. "I have been in a horizontal position in medbay for several Earth weeks. It is somewhat unappealing at the moment."

"You haven't been layin' down with me next to you, though. Does that make it more 'appealing'?" Blaster lightly ran his finger along one of the repair seams on Soundwave's side. "Besides, you're still healin' up and now I can finally take care of you."

Soundwave then realized this was Blaster's way to show affection, so he nodded in agreement. With some assistance, he laid back on the berth. It was much more comfortable than one from medbay, and once Blaster carefully curled up beside him it became even cozier. Their plating lightly touched, causing warm, radiating sensations to spread across his sensory net. The pleasure of Blaster's touch blotted out the general haze of pain his body had been.

For the first time in a very, very long time, Soundwave truly relaxed. A small smile was plastered across his lips as he turned to gaze at Blaster. Blaster stared back with shimmering optics and a bright, genuine smile.

Soundwave was finally free to love Blaster and live his life how he wanted, instead of feeling like a bystander. No more Megatron to appease, no more Decepticons to shun him, no more lonely nights in his quarters. Now what lay in the road ahead of them was a future that no one could have predicted. A love that every medic and their own parents said wasn't possible for them. The way Soundwave saw it, why settle for less when the universe was willing to offer them both so much more? Everything in his life had one again changed, but this time it was on his terms. He was going to take it and run. Enjoy his new self, his new love, and his new unfolding life for everything it would have it offer.

AN- No epilogue added to this chapter. I may come back and add one later. Honestly, it took a lot of energy to even write this chapter. I guess all the drama in it was somewhat draining to write. I could only do it in bits and pieces. ^^; I am offering a free 'mix-tape' of music that goes with this story called, "To: Soundwave Love, Blaster". If you'd like one mailed to you PM me a mailing address. ^o^ This offer stands through January 2012.