Author's Note – For "tf_speedwriting" on LJ. The prompt was a picture (Theme Day: Death). It can be viewed here: community. livejournal tf_speedwriting / 290433. html (remove the spaces, of course). And in trying to find some definite reference for Sparkplug's "real" name, I came across one apparently given in/by Marvel Comics. I kinda like it, so I went with it.

Also . . . haha, I'm kind of an idiot. I realized well after finishing this . . . mentally, I always picture energon as a glowing green for some bizarre reason, when of course it's actually a glowing hot pink. Oh well . . . maybe systemically, there's a chemical change that occurs as it's being used by the body that turns it green. (I can explain damned near anything. XD)

Disclaimer – "Transformers" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Hasbro, Takara, and any other related owners/distributors/producers. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.

"Like Blood…or Energon"
by DragonDancer5150

Upstate New York was always cold and grey this time of year, so the brilliant red of the leaves still clinging to the tree up ahead was a pleasant surprise.

A lone figure walked through the silent graveyard, snow crunching softly under his boots. His infant son slept cradled in his arms as his gaze scanned the headstones around him. It wasn't that he didn't know where he was going, just that it didn't feel right to pass all these people without at least acknowledging them.

He neared the tree – and the headstone he wanted – and saw the scattering of leaves on the ground, startling red against the snow like splatters of blood. Or energon, had they still been green.

He shook his head, banishing that line of thought before it could really get going, and focused on the headstone a little to the right, dropping to his knees.

"Hey. It's been a while. Sorry I haven't made it back up here sooner, like I promised I would. You know how it's been, I'm sure.

"The Decepticons are gone finally. Sort of. Back to Cybertron. Been about four months now, I guess. One of Megatron's schemes actually worked. Whole thing played out almost like when we first met the Autobots. Remember? Optimus tried to take off after the Victory with Sideswipe's jetpack, then turned out Mirage had snuck onboard and took them down from the inside? Mirage didn't get a chance to try that again this time. H-he . . . a-almost didn't make it at all this time. A lot-" His voice broke and he had to clear his throat and try again. "A lot of the guys almost didn't make it this time. B-but . . . but it's all right. Everyone's okay now. Took Ratchet and Wheeljack just about forever to get everyone back up and running, but . . . they did. Hoist helped a lot too, and me and Carly.

"Hoist and Wheeljack have since been busy with Grapple's team. We broke ground on Autobot City last wee- …no, sorry, two weeks ago. Man, time flies…

"We're doing great, by the way. Carly and I are. Our first anniversary was last month. I'm glad you were able to be there. For the wedding, I mean."

The baby twitched and fussed in his arms, waking and drawing his attention. A small, sad smile tugged at his lips. "We never got to tell you. The day Ratchet rushed you to Emergency in Bakersfield . . . Carly and I were going to tell you that night, over a really nice dinner." He shifted the baby in his arms so the little one faced the headstone a little more. "Daniel Peter. I wanted to name him Stanley, but Carly wouldn't hear it. Said she dated a guy in high school named Stanley, and that didn't end well. But . . . Stan, Dan, 'same thing', right?" He gave a soft, low laugh at his own lame attempt at a joke, voice breaking a little, and shook his head. "Not like he'll probably go by his given name for long anyway. I mean . . . look at us."

In spite of his best efforts, tears had long begun to track down his cheeks, stinging with the chill of the breeze that drifted through the graveyard, blowing snow off laden, gently-swaying tree limbs like a sprinkling of fine sugar. He blinked and freed a gloved hand from his son to wipe his face dry, then reached out to brush the snow from the surface of the headstone.

Stanislas Piotr Witwicki
Born Feb 26, 1946
Died Aug 8, 2001
Absque sui detrimento non datur victoria

'No sacrifice, no victory' in Latin – the family's motto. Carved below that was another inscription. Wheeljack had added it himself, with permission. It was in Cybertronian characters and read: 'All life is sacred'. The Autobot motto. Gloved fingers traced the graven details of the Witwicky family crest and the Autobrand that stood side-by-side below that.

The crunch of heavy footsteps in the snow made him turn just then, looking up . . . and up. He grinned. For all that the yellow mech was the smallest among his fellows, his big feet meant he had to step carefully, not wanting to disrespect those residing here even in death. "Bumblebee…"

"Spike." Crouching carefully, his best friend put a hand on his shoulder, holding something in his other hand. "You forgot this." A human-sized, adjustable wrench lay in the mech's palm.

Spike laughed softly and picked it up. "His favorite wrench." He turned, showing it to the headstone. "Wheeljack finally found it a couple weeks ago. It'd fallen into the bottom of one of his toolkits." He leaned forward, using the head to dig into the snow, then the dirt, along the base of the headstone, making a shallow trench just long enough to place the wrench in and cover it up. He sat back, staring at the words on the headstone, a lump forming in his throat and tears welling in his eyes again. "I love you, Dad. I miss you so much."

"We all miss you, Sparkplug." Bumblebee's voice crackled softly with static, and he reached to lay his hand on the top of the stone, the other still on Spike's shoulder. Then he jumped at a soft trill from his comm-link. Withdrawing his hand, he exposed the transmitter-mic from his wrist. "Bumblebee here."

"Sorry if we're cuttin' anythin' short, guys – " Jazz's voice was soft with deep understanding. " – but we're done gatherin' stuff from the old garage. We need ta start headin' back."

"Understood. We'll meet you guys on the interstate, same place we split off."

"A'right, see you kids there. Jazz out."

"Bumblebee out." The mech folded away the transmitter with a thought, then looked around them as if reluctant to leave. "It's so quiet here. Peaceful."

Spike nodded. "It's always quiet and peaceful in cemeteries. Heh . . . well, during the day. Guess nights are another story. Or can be."

Bumblebee chuckled softly. "Yeah? Tell me about it on the way?" He stood and offered his friend a hand up.

Spike accepted the help, little Daniel cradled in his other arm. "Sure." He gazed up for a moment at his best friend. "Thanks for coming with me, Bumblebee."

Bumblebee just shrugged. "I wouldn't have missed this for anything. I'm just sorry Wheeljack couldn't come." He looked down at the headstone. "He'd wanted to. He really tried, but he just couldn't pull himself away. Grapple needs him right now. He wanted me to tell you, though . . . that he's really sorry he couldn't make it. He'll come out next time. He promised."

Spike could hear the layers of grief in Bumblebee's voice, grief that matched his own, and he reached up to put a hand on the mech's arm. "It's okay, Bumblebee. Dad understands. I know he does."

Optics dim and shuttered, the mech passed a hand over his face and nodded, drawing a cycle of crisp, cold air through his vents.

Spike slipped his hand into Bumblebee's, a hand that could easily engulf his entire arm, and together, human and Cybertronian made their way out of the silent cemetery, taking some of its peace with them.