So, new fic. If the title didn't make it clear, this is post-endgame. And yes, the title is a bit wacky. It's what happens when it gets late and I need to title something. For the sake of this fic I will try to exclusively use Animated time units which are the following:

nanoklik = less than 1 second; cycle = 1.5 minutes; megacycle = 2.6 hours; solar cycle = 1 day; decacycle = 10 days; orbital cycle = 1 month; stellar cycle = 1 year

Note: information indicates there are 100 cycles in a megacycle, and 10 megacycles in a solar cycle.

And of course, standard disclaimers apply. Flames be used to roast parrot on my pirate ship, yarr!

Chapter 1: Returns


Optimus let his attention wander from the scene in front of him as he, as inconspicuously as possible, leaned against the wall behind him. He stood with Jazz and Sentinel at the side of the medical room while Ratchet and several other medics worked on Ultra Magnus under Sari's direction. It had taken a considerable amount of persuasion and demonstration to get the medics, Elite Guard, and 'acting Magnus' to let her in, but eventually they had managed. If they were lucky, Ultra Magnus would online once they had completed repairs. Optimus only hoped he could last that long. While Ratchet had performed repairs before their return, his supplies had been limited, and most of the repairs were only temporary, their concern being focused on delivering Megatron to Cybertron as soon as possible. Now though, Optimus found himself wishing that Ratchet could have been allowed more time to complete repairs correctly. His energy reserves were running low, his joints ached, and transformation was impossible because most of the necessary cogs were broken.

A low groan sounded from the medical berth and Optimus' attention immediately snapped back to the current situation. Every bot in the room stilled, waiting and watching. Slowly Ultra Magnus' optics came online and traveled over the bots in the room, finally landing on Sari, who stood next to his head.

"It would seem that I have missed a great deal." Ultra Magnus spoke, his voice quiet.

"You've missed a lot, indeed, sir." Ratchet informed him, "but not as much time has passed as you may think, at least not as much if you're basing that assessment on Sari's appearance. She was, after all, upgraded by the AllSpark while we were out of contact with you."

"I see." Ultra Magnus intoned, looking contemplative, before turning his head towards where Optimus and the others stood. "Jazz, I would like a full report once the medics are satisfied with my condition."

"But Ultra Magnus, sir!" Sentinel interrupted, "as your second-in-command I should be allowed to bring you up to date!" There was a slight pause before he stated 'up to date,' and everyone in the room could derive the offhanded insult in that.

"As my second-in-command, you have undoubtedly been appointed temporary Magnus in my absence." Ultra Magnus spoke strongly, optics narrowing slightly. "As such, you do not have the time since you must keep things running smoothly until my return."

"Yes, sir." Sentinel ground out, at least recognizing the comment as the dismissal it was. He left the room, leveling a lethal glare at Optimus as he went. It was then that one of the medics moved up to the berth where Ultra Magnus lay.

"Ultra Magnus, sir, I am pleased to report that repairs have been successful." The medic announced. "Your self-repair will still require a solar cycle or two to re-align your systems properly, and you require rest. Likely you will be back to one hundred percent in a decacycle."

"Thank you." Ultra Magnus gave a slight nod, and the medics quickly exited the room. After the door closed, Ultra Magnus pinned his gaze on Optimus. "Optimus Prime." It was a statement, summons, and question all in one. Optimus took a few steps closer, before pausing and adjusting his grip on the hammer he'd all but forgotten he carried.

"Sir." He started hesitantly, before lowering the hammer to hold it horizontally in both hands. "I believe this is yours. I apologize I was unable to ask your permission before I used it."

"We wouldn't have been able to defeat Megatron without it." Ratchet spoke up again. "And I goaded him into it, Sir."

"Enough." Ultra Magnus intervened before it could become a contest of who could accept the blame. "Apologies are not necessary. I understand. In times of war, circumstances dictate action." He paused for a moment before continuing. "Optimus Prime. Since my subspace storage is currently inaccessible I leave the Magnus Hammer in your care." All coherent thought fled Optimus' processors at that. An academy washout being charged with the safekeeping of the Magnus Hammer. He could hear that Ultra Magnus was still speaking, but words were lost on him until Ratchet took his arm. Blinking he looked at the medic.

"Come on, Prime. Let's get you fixed up properly now." Ratchet's tone was almost soothing as he steered Optimus out the doors and down the hall of the Central Infirmary. "The Infirmary director's given us a room and all the spare parts I'll need to get you good as new." A short time later Optimus realized he was being prodded onto a berth. "Get some recharge. I'll be back in a megacycle or two." Optimus shifted fully onto the berth before realizing that he no longer held the Magnus Hammer. He panicked for a few nanokliks until Ratchet patted the Hammer that leaned against the wall.

"Thanks Ratchet." Optimus said with a tired smile. Hardly a nanoklik later he had fallen into recharge.

Optimus pulled out of recharge to warnings blaring in his processor. Without thinking he rolled off the berth just in time to avoid the weapon aimed at his prone form. The shriek of rending metal was painfully loud as the berth crushed. Frantic attempts to comm. his teammates were only met with static. Slowly Optimus' optics cleared to focus on the figure pulling the Magnus Hammer out of the twisted metal.

"Sentinel?" Optimus could hardly believe what he was seeing. "Drop the Magnus Hammer. It's not yours."

"It should be. And it will be." Sentinel spoke with a dangerous gleam in his optics. "Once you and Ultra Magnus are assassinated by an unknown Decepticon agent, it will be mine, as it rightfully should."

"What are you talking about, Sentinel? What Decepticon?" Optimus asked, quietly trying to assess his situation. He'd been in recharge a little over a megacycle. Ratchet might be returning soon, but that wasn't guaranteed, and Sentinel stood between Optimus and the door. With his energy reserves now just barely over fifty percent, he could conceivably fight his way to the door, but the chances he would make it out with enough energy to escape after were low. For now, all he could do was keep Sentinel talking and distracted.

"Oh, there is no Decepticon. But no one will think to contradict me when I become Magnus and claim there was." Sentinel informed him coldly.

"Why are you doing this?" Optimus felt dread starting to seep into his circuits. Even if he escaped he couldn't contact his team for backup, and he certainly couldn't defend Ultra Magnus properly.

"They're trying to reinstate you!" Sentinel shrieked. "That means they are reviewing that….incident! And that green block head had to mention that techno-organic Decepticon FREAK! If they bring the whole thing up again my career could be destroyed and I'll never take my rightful place as Magnus. I can't let them destroy me so I have to destroy you, old buddy."

"It was my career that was destroyed then, Sentinel, so what makes you think yours is in any danger now." Optimus carefully edged his servos towards his subspace. His axe may not be useful against the Magnus Hammer, but at the very least he could use it to distract Sentinel and get the Magnus Hammer out of his servos. Or that was the plan at least.

"Because I overheard Ultra Magnus talking about it." Sentinel was waving his arms wildly now, optics wide, venting hard. "He said that this time he intends to find out whose idea it was to go, and to review the reports in detail." Sentinel suddenly pointed the Magnus Hammer at Optimus. "The only way he'll find out it was my idea is if you tell him, so I can't let you tell him. Even if you took responsibility then, I just can't stake my future as Magnus on you. Sorry old…" Optimus didn't let him finish. In one swift motion he flung his axe at Sentinel's head while lunging for him.

As he had predicted, Sentinel moved the Hammer to intercept the axe, leaving his lower body unprotected. Optimus slammed into Sentinel's waist plating, sending them both crashing to the floor, and in the ensuing tangle of limbs, Optimus grabbed at the Hammer. One servo caught it firmly while the other became trapped underneath them. Sentinel's fist slammed into the side of his helm, rolling them enough that Optimus untrapped his servo and returned the blow. After that it became more of a tug-of-war-with-punches-flying than a fight. Only when Optimus got a ped between them did Sentinel's grip slip enough for Optimus to take control of the Magnus Hammer. As he rolled up on one knee critical energy warnings began flashing across his vision.

"That's it!" Sentinel roared, his lance charging as he thrust it for Optimus' spark. A sizzling clang sounded as familiar nun chucks knocked it off course enough that it merely sliced through his outer armor. Jazz followed them, kicking Sentinel back, before dropping into a defensive pose in front of Optimus.

"Bad move, Sentinel." Jazz spoke up. "Surrender now."

"No! This is my time! Mine!" Sentinel lunged at Jazz as Optimus' vision began to fade. He was only distantly aware of the sounds of battle, quickly followed by the sound of a mech fleeing. Shouts from voices he didn't recognize resounded through the halls. Then Jazz's visored face entered his failing vision.

"Easy OP. Just stay with me, dig?" Jazz's voice held worry. "Ratchet's incoming. He'll fix you up right."

Optimus weakly shook his head, vocalizer spitting static. At the current rate his energy reserves were dropping Ratchet wouldn't make it in time, and he wasn't sure about the Central Infirmary medics. The fact that there weren't any here now made him work to speak even as Jazz tried to shush him. "Energy…critical." He saw the understanding flash in Jazz's visored optics, and watched him turn to what he assumed to be the doorway.

"We need an emergency energon infusion!" Jazz didn't shout, but the tone he used came close, gently shifting Optimus so he was laying on his backplates. Optimus felt the Magnus Hammer move in his grip and tightened his servos. "I'm not going to take it Optimus. Ultra Magnus left it in your care." Slowly Optimus released it, and Jazz carefully propped it back up against the wall.

Maybe a cycle later he felt fingers prying a panel off his side, followed by a stinging sensation as an energon line was breached. Optimus could feel the energon flowing into his lines, energy surging back through his systems. His vision cleared, though the warnings continued, and Optimus was able to see the other mech in the room. He too was Elite Guard, though not familiar. His orange coloring stood out in stark contrast to the silver walls. Before Optimus could ask who he was, a scream echoed through the medical facility. Even as he moved to sit up, Jazz and the other mech were pushing him back down.

"Ultra Magnus!" Optimus managed to not scream it, but just barely. "He was going after Ultra Magnus."

"It's cool." Jazz assured him. "Ultra Magnus has several guards in his room. We thought the Decepticons might try something. Weren't figuring on Sentinel though."

Before Optimus could even fully process the comment, Ratchet came through the door grumbling about attacks happening in medical facilities. He wisely kept his mouthplates shut as Ratchet scanned him.

"New damage is only minor. Broke quite a few of those temporary repairs, and energy levels are just above critical." Rachet stepped back even before he finished talking, turning to Jazz. "Glad you showed up."

"Glad I was here too." Jazz spoke quietly.

"Medic Ratchet?" Came a new voice from the doorway. They turned to see a medic there with a gurney. "There is an empty room two doors down for your immediate use."

"Right." Rachet acknowledged, then indicated the gurney. "All of you, help me get him on here." Optimus was carefully lifted onto the gurney and wheeled a short distance down the hall and into a nearly identical room. Once they were inside, the unknown Elite Guard saluted Jazz and left. "Alright, time to get to work." Ratchet drew Optimus' attention just as he aimed the EMP generator. "When you wake up, you'll be back in good working order."

With a flash, darkness descended on Optimus Prime.

So, yay! One long chapter. Unfortunately, it's also largely un-edited and un-beta'd, so if there are goofy errors, I'd like to hear about them.

Reviews are also nice.