Author's Notes - This may be one of my longest chapters yet, mainly because I started writing it before the episode 'Operation Breakdown' actually aired. I needed to see if I had to make any major changes or not.
Also, this was supposed to be in the Decepticons POV, but I found more ideas with a neutral perspective. Whatever makes it easier for me right?
As always, enjoy and review!
"Roses are a human tradition Knockout. And last I checked, you were a Cybertronian...who hated humans."
When Arcee had made it to the 'getaway spot', as Knockout liked to call it, she had found the ground littered with red and white roses. It was obvious that Knockout was trying to make amends by channeling his emotions through a human-like method. In other words, he was trying to get on her good side by pretending to like the flesh creatures she was so keen on protecting.
"That...may be true, but given the chance, I'll put my distaste for them aside, if only to get you to forgive me."
For Knockout to stoop to a humans level was definitely a surprise, but it wasn't enough to get Arcee to falter. She was going to get to the bottom of why he lied to her whether he liked it or not. She tread carefully over to him, trying not to step on and crush the beautiful looking flowers beneath her. Finally face to face with him on the cliff overlooking the valley, she folded her servos and arched a brow at him, clearly expecting him to start from the beginning.
Knockout couldn't back out of this one no matter what he said, so with no other option, he told her the complete and honest truth.
"I never meant to hurt you. In any way. Its just...I was being selfish. Again." His shoulders drooped and he almost looked like he had what the humans would call 'puppy-dog eyes', "Please believe me when I say that I did want to tell you about Megatron. How he hadn't perished in the Space Bridge explosion like we all thought he had, and how he was still alive, no matter how improbable that may have sounded. I wanted to tell you...but I couldn't."
He finally tore his optics away from her to look out over the valley, "With Megatron nonfunctional, Starscream took control. And so the position of Second-in-Command became open. Since Soundwave wasn't going to take it, I thought I was better suited for the job. I already had an assistant at my beck and call, and formidable fighting skills to match. I actually believed I'd be happier having a higher level position in the Decepticon ranks, rather than being just a medic."
Knockout paused and took a shaky breath. Then his face cringed, as if he was remembering a bad memory, "Playing along with Starscream just to have a higher rank...I didn't realize just how slagged up that was until I saw you and the other Autobot in the Nemesis. As soon as I saw you, I knew I was in for it. All this time I kept the mighty overlord a secret...it was all so I could think I was better than I actually was."
He looked down at his own servos as a glare soon settled on his faceplates, "I was an idiot. I had all I wanted right in front of me, and I blew it! My reputation, my best friend...you." His gaze drifted back to Arcee, hurt spread all over his face and optics, "I hurt you the most. You gave me your trust...and I pushed it aside. I know I deserve every ounce of anger you have towards me, but please Arcee, give me another chance."
Arcee waited a few moments after he finished his explanation before bending over to pick up a couple of roses off the ground. Twiddling them carefully between her fingers, she examined each one closely, noting the thorns, flawless looking petals, and the unique scent.
"So if I'm correct on human botany, a white rose means apology...and a red rose means true love."
Knockout seemed to relax a little, despite not knowing if she was still angry or not, "Actually my dear, a white rose symbolizes honor, humility, and new beginnings. And yes, a red rose means true love." He bent over and picked up another rose from the ground, "Although a dark red rose, like this one here, symbolizes passion, commitment..." he bowed, offering the rose to her, "and a love that can never be torn apart, no matter the distance between us."
Arcee was falling in love all over again. The Decepticon was charming his way into her spark once again, and she was letting all her barriers drop to allow him back inside. She took the rose he offered and held it up so that the dew on its petals glistened in the moonlight. There were similar representations of flowers back on Cybertron, but none looked quite as stunning as the organic flower she held now.
She felt servos snake around her waist and a head lean over her shoulder, starring at the same sight she was seeing. Her own head leaned back and his engine rumbled in response to the forgiving gesture.
"So, do you accept my apology?"
Despite herself, and the small voice of doubt that was still present in the back of her processor, she smiled and turned her head enough so that she could see him staring back, waiting anxiously for her answer.
"As long as you tell me nothing but the truth from now on. No more secrets. And no more trying to get ahead of yourself with power and rank. You're fine just the way you are."
Knockout smiled, a pure, genuine smile and nodded in complete understanding. He met Arcee's lips with his own and sealed their deal in a kiss that probably would have made Cliffjumper jealous. While Arcee smiled at that thought, a surge of overwhelming joy flooded through her spark, with a pang of relief mixed in as well. She quickly realized it was Knockout who had sent her his true feelings through their sparkbond, and decided to send some emotions of her own.
Knockout broke the kiss with a small start and stared at the femme in his arms in utter bewilderment. Did she just send him feelings of...lust? It didn't take long for his own instincts to kick in and a smug smirk to come across his faceplates.
"You, are my kind of femme."
Arcee gave him a sly smile of her own before twisting around and tackling him to the ground, the flowers in her servos temporarily forgotten as they landed softly on the ground, far enough away from the two lovers as they reconciled their relationship through their sparkbond.
I'll do whatever it takes
To turn this around
I know what's at stake
I know that I've let you down
And if you give me a chance
Believe that I can change
I'll keep us together whatever it takes...
Awakening from recharge, Arcee expected to find Knockout laying beside her as he always did when they were together. This time though, he wasn't there to greet her. Instead, he was standing by the edge of the cliff seemingly looking out over the valley. Arcee sat up, stretched, and closed her sparkchamber.
"Knockout? Is something wrong?"
The Con medic didn't say anything, let alone turn to look at her. Arcee was going to ask again, but was stopped by a sensation of worry, tension, and mild panic flooding her spark. She recognized them as Knockout's emotions and got up to stand next to her lover. The look on his face was near emotionless, his mouth a thin line where a cocky smirk or annoyed frown should've been, and his optics dull and lifeless compared to what they were earlier that night. Reaching out to touch his servo, Arcee was even more surprised to feel how tense his entire frame was.
"Knockout, answer me! What's wrong?"
Still not moving or looking at her, Knockout quietly answered, "It's Breakdown. He just sent me a data burst saying he's in trouble and needs immidiate assistance. The problem is, I can't pinpoint where his signal is coming from."
Arcee didn't need to feel Knockout's conflicting emotions to know how close the two were. They weren't just work partners, but friends as well, given that Breakdown was probably the only mech who could work under Knockout's snarky attitude.
"Can't the other Cons go find him?"
"Megatron sending out a search party? That's not happening. If Breakdowns in trouble, he would be expected to get himself out of the situation. That's why he called me. He knew I wouldn't just leave him to fend for himself. I just need to know where he is first."
Arcee agreed that Megatron wasn't the kind of mech to go out of his way for anyone else, and tried boosting her own signals to try and get a reading of the other Cons energy signature.
"If we're going to find him, we'll need a much stronger signal boost than what we're equipped with."
Finally Knockout faced her when he spoke, " 'We'? Arcee, if Breakdown is in trouble, I don't want to risk you getting hurt. Wherever he is, it could be dangerous."
Defiance in her optics, Arcee protested, "I don't care how dangerous this could be. If it wasn't for Breakdown, I probably wouldn't have come here to forgive you at all. So when we save him, you'd better thank him for that."
Knockout didn't say anything else as he watched Arcee begin to walk out of their getaway spot.
"Go back to the Nemesis and wait for me to send you a data burst of my coordinates. No matter what, we're going to find Breakdown."
It didn't take long, or much effort, to obtain Breakdown's coordinates once Arcee sent him the data. In no time, Knockout was back where his partner was last seen. In an abandoned Russian ghost town with no sign of his fellow Con anywhere.
Almost ducking behind a ruined building, Knockout was relieved that it was only Arcee and not the entire posse of Autobots.
"Where are the other Bots? They couldn't possibly have let you come alone."
Pointing behind her, Arcee answered, "Optimus, Ratchet, and Bumblebee are here. They got a reading on the scanner and headed in that direction. I convinced Optimus to let me check out where these tire tracks lead." She nodded in the direction of a set of recent tracks, "Bulkhead didn't want to come though. He's still sour from losing to Breakdown."
A small smirk played at Knockout's mouth, "Figures. Those two have been beating the slag out of each other for who knows how long." His smirk vanished when he looked towards the direction of the tire tracks, "This could be a trap you know."
Transforming, Arcee revved her engine, "It wouldn't surprise me if it was. Now let's move!"
Following suit, Knockout transformed and followed the motorcycle through the ghost town. It wasn't long before the two came across a set of old train tracks leading into a tunnel through the mountainside.
"Think this is where they're keeping Breakdown?"
Knockout transformed back to his robot mode and scanned the area, "The signal I'm getting is weak, but that may be caused by the tunnel itself. Bad reception and whatnot." He turned his headlights on and unsubspaced his energon prod. "Stick close to me."
Arcee reverted back into robot mode and followed next to Knockout with her own headlights on and arm blades out.
They walked in relative silence for a few minutes before Knockout whispered, "You never said who it was that kidnapped Breakdown. What do they want with him?"
"It's a human terrorist organization called M.E.C.H. Our sources believe they wanted Breakdown for research purposes so that they could build advanced military weapons. Naturally, Optimus doesn't want Cybertronian technology to fall in the hands of these humans."
Knockout paused for a brief moment, "In order to actually attain blueprints of our technology, those humans would have to dissect Breakdown..." The corners of his mouth lifted in a snarl, "That's something I'm NOT about to let them do! We don't have much time, hurry!"
They both ran through the eerie tunnel, the sounds of their hurried footsteps being the only sound echoing throughout the emptiness. Nothing was going to stop the pair from getting to the helpless Con...except the giant steel door that came into view when they rounded a corner.
"Slag! I don't need this right now!"
Knockout pounded his fists against the doors, not even leaving a dent once he stopped. Arcee switched her arm blades for her blaster and took a few shots at the steel barricade with no success either.
"If Bulkhead was here, he'd punch his way through...wait, all we need is leverage! Knockout, jam your prod through the middle of the door. We'll pry it open!"
Getting her drift, Knockout rammed the energon prod into the door as hard as he could, getting it stuck in the middle as planned. With both of them pushing against the weight of the obstacle, they were able to pry it open enough so that both of them could fit through before it slammed shut on them.
"There goes our way out." Arcee shrugged.
"Stop right where you are! Don't try to go any further!"
Both Bot and Con looked down to see a small handful of M.E.C.H foot soldiers taking aim at them with assault rifles.
"Go ahead humans, make my day!"
Without waiting for Arcee, Knockout activated his energon prod and charged through the humans with ease, occasionally swinging at a few who were brave enough to leave small bullet scratches on his paint job.
"Good job Knockout, let's just draw more attention to ourselves." Arcee sarcastically muttered to herself as she continued to follow the Con through the tunnels.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of running through gunfire and human casualties that Knockout so graciously caused, they reached the end of the tunnel. While computers were still lit and data was still being transferred, there were no other humans around, leading the two to believe they had retreated when they breached the steel doors. The only one who was still in the area was Breakdown, restrained to an old train cart, surrounded by advanced surgical lasers, and staring at them both in sheer confusion...with one optic.
"Oh no...Breakdown! Are you okay?"
Knockout rushed over to his partner and wasted no time in ripping the restraints off his wrists and ankles before getting uncomfortably close to his face and checking out the damage done to his right optic socket.
Fidgeting under the medics intense gaze, Breakdown pushed himself up and off the makeshift examination table, "I'm...fine. Can't really say if anything hurts though. They shut off my pain receptors."
Not buying that his partner was 'fine', Knockout folded his servos across his chassis, "Well from here, it looks like the only real damage they did to you was rip your optic out. We'll have to come back and find it later."
"That may not be necessary." Arcee explained, coming up to stand beside them, "The rest of my team found your optic. It was being used as a two-way radio so that the M.E.C.H leader could brag about your capture to us. They also managed to save it from an explosion the humans had rigged. If you want it back, we'll have to rendezvous with them once we get out of here."
Breakdown looked between Knockout and Arcee before asking, "The rest of the Autobots are here too? They...they came to rescue me?"
"Well, Bulkhead didn't. But yeah, my team came to rescue you, whether you'd like our help or not. Optimus couldn't afford to have Cybertronian technology fall into humans hands anyway."
Breakdown actually smiled after hearing that, "Heh, Bulkhead's a sore loser. He would've gotten lost or-"
He didn't get a chance to finish his insult as an alarm sounded throughout the entire tunnel.
"Can you walk?" Knockout asked doing a quick scan on his partners legs to make sure.
"I...I think so." Breakdown confirmed as he closed his chest compartment.
"Can you run?" Knockout couldn't stop the glare he directed at the messy rip through the center of his friend's chassis.
"Why run when you can fight?" Breakdown smirked, transforming his servo into his signature hammer.
Knockout finally accepted that Breakdown was back to normal and clanged his prod against the hammer. "After you my friend. You'll be able to take some of your pent up anger out on a steel wall that's blocking the way out of here."
"Fine with me!" Breakdown exclaimed as he charged back the way they had came, taking care of a few humans that had survived Knockout's initial onslaught while he was at it.
Running to keep up with the vengeful Con, Arcee couldn't help but state her opinion as an Autobot, "Y'know, normally I wouldn't forgive either of you for killing these humans. But given the circumstances, I'll let it slide for now."
"Why thank you Arcee. It's always nice when an Autobot agrees with a Decepticon once in awhile!" Knockout laughed.
Rolling her optics, Arcee stopped short of Breakdown beating his hammer against the solid steel doors with so much force, the tunnel walls were beginning to crack on the sides of them. With one last swing, the doors burst open and fell in a heap on the unused train tracks. All three continued through the tunnel unhindered by anything else until they made it outside. Once out in the open, they were peppered with more bullets from foot soldiers and mounted rockets from circling cars.
Breakdown resorted to using his shoulder laser to take out some of the cars before picking them up and throwing them into the helicopters giving aerial support the sky. Knockout hit anything that passed by him with a burst of electricity that sent whatever it was into an overload and exploded. Arcee used her blaster to disable the cars and scatter the humans on the ground, still not wanting to actually kill the humans even after everything that had happened.
"So uh, you guys have an escape plan or what?"
"I have one, but you might not like it."
Arcee opened her comm and called for assistance.
:Arcee to Optimus! I've got Breakdown and Knockout with me, but we require immediate backup. Here are my coordinates, hurry!:
Knockout called for his own assistance while he hid away from most of the gunfire.
:Knockout to Starscream! I found Breakdown, but I could use some aerial assistance!:
:Your alt mode finally working against you Knockout? Hmmm, if only you had chosen a more, flight oriented model...:
:Not to be rude herr kommandant, but I don't think Megatron would be to thrilled if you let his medic get interrogated by Autobots, if you get my drift:
:Fine! I'll be there shortly. Starscream out:
Getting back into the fray, Knockout noticed one of the helicopters powering up some kind of electric laser and targeting Arcee, who had somehow fallen to her knees and was unable to defend herself from the oncoming attack. Unfortunately, Knckout's path to her was blocked by endless swarms of rocket cars and gunfire.
"Arcee! Watch out!"
Arcee saw the beam of electricity coming at her, but moments before it hit, she was tackled out of the way by whom she could only assume was Breakdown, given that Knockout wasn't blue and didn't have nearly as much armor as the other Con had. Untangling herself, she only managed to mouth a thank you to him before getting bombarded with more bullets. They were only able to stand back up once Knockout cleared the area for a few seconds with a burst of his own electricity, though it was enough time for them to get their bearings and continue holding off the humans.
Forming a tight circle, the three of them continued holding the soldiers off until they suddenly appeared to be retreating. When the last car left and the helicopters were nothing more than specks in the sky, the three had a brief moment to relax.
"Your backup?" Breakdown asked Arcee.
Before she could answer, the sound of jet engines echoed throughout the war-torn area and a formation of sleek jets spiraled up before transforming in front of them, revealing themselves to be Starscream and a squad of aerial vehicons.
"Commander Starscream!" Breakdown stood at attention while Knockout internally groaned. If he had known Arcee was calling for her own backup...'Slag...'
"Consorting with the enemy you two?" Starscream seethed as he stalked towards them.
"But Arcee helped get me out of there."
"Many sparkfelt thanks Autobot. Now destroy her!"
Neither Breakdown or Knockout made any move towards Arcee. Breakdown didn't want to face the wrath of both Starscream and Knockout, since he knew the medic wouldn't allow him, or anyone else to hurt her.
"Do you plan on joining their ranks anytime soon? No? Then be done with it already!"
It was Knockout's turn to answer their commander, "No. We won't do it."
Starscream turned his attention to the medic, "What did you say?"
"I said I'm not going to do it. And I'm not going to let you destroy her either." Activating his energon prod once again, Knockout stood in front of Arcee, ready to die for her if only to defy his commander.
"Why you- Breakdown! Destroy the Autobot AND the traitor! NOW!"
"I...I..." Breakdown was torn between his loyalties to his commander and his best friend, "I..can't."
Signaling for the vehicons to take aim, Starscream growled, "Then you shall die as well!"
Surprisingly, the first shot fired wasn't from the Decepticons arm rockets, but rather from the team of Autobots making their way over to them, ready to fight to protect Arcee if need be.
"This isn't over! Retreat!" Starscream ordered the team of vehicons as he transformed and flew back to the Nemesis.
Once the aerial threat was gone, the Autobots turned their weapons to the two Cons before them.
"Wait! Don't shoot them!"
This time Arcee stood in front of Knockout and Breakdown, using herself as a shield from the rest of her team.
Optimus lowered his weapon and looked between the three, "Arcee, engaging the human enemy was foolish, but doing so while fighting alongside our enemy might've been even more foolish. Do you mind explaining yourself?"
Ratchet interjected before Arcee could begin, "Arcee can tell you all about what's been going on once we get back to the base Optimus. As for you," He turned his attention to Breakdown, "I think you might need this." He held out his hand to reveal Breakdown's missing optic.
"You saved it from an explosion I hear. Thanks Auto- um, Ratchet." Knockout admitted.
"It's still functional, so if you want to see by tomorrow morning, I suggest you come with us."
Arcee looked uncertainly at her leader, "Well Optimus? Is that alright with you?"
Optimus contemplated his thought for a moment before reaching a suitable decision, "I'll allow both Knockout and Breakdown into our base, as long as their comm links are disabled and they are monitored at all times."
Despite having the restrictions, both Cons agreed to the conditions set by the Autobot leader. They would most likely be deemed as traitors if they went back to the Nemesis anyway, so the least they could do was stay with the Autobots for the time being.
As they all waited for the ground bridge to bring them back to the base, Breakdown quickly pulled Knockout aside, "Is this what you wanted when you were talking about leaving the Decepticons?"
Knockout tilted his helm in confusion before he remembered that Breakdown was referring to the dream he had some time ago, "It's not exactly what I had in mind, but I guess it works out either way. At least we won't have to deal with our dummkopf Commander anymore."
Breakdown still didn't look entirely sure about the whole ordeal, "Bulkhead's gonna be a pain in my aft the entire time I'm there."
Knockout patted his friends shoulder as the ground bridge finally opened, "I'm sure you two will work it out...eventually."
Why are my endings so abrupt? Why do I stay up at unreasonable hours of the night writing these stories? Why am I asking all these questions?
Anywho, I think I'll make chapter ten the last chapter. It's been fun, but this story is starting to suck the life out of me. So its time to move on. Hope you enjoyed, and remember to review!
Now sleep beckons me.