Author's Note: Dude. I've been so silent for so long. I think this fic is the explosion of all the pent up writing I've kept in the last few months.
I've never written so much in such a short amount of time.
Anyway, it's the usual deal with one-shots. I have absolutely no idea where this came from. It's also the darkest thing I've ever written. Heck, when the bunny first bit it was even darker than this... 0.o
So, some warnings are in order: Warning: references to really bad torture.
Disclaimer: Hasbro would never hire me, I'm too twisted. Takara, however... Maybe.
The first time Hot Shot saw Optimus, it was in the Epsilon's cargo bay.
The Epsilon was a standard size Autobot battleship, carefully masked from outside optics. The Decepticon menace had made that necessary.
Hot Shot wasn't sure how exactly it had happened, but one moment the Allspark was gone, the 'Cons defeated and everything a-okay. The next, the 'Cons were back, with the Allspark in all its misused destructive power, Ultra Magnus was dead, the Autobots scattered across the galaxy hiding and running just as the Decepticons had done at the end of the Great War.
And Rodimus was the Magnus.
It wasn't like he wasn't proud of his friend and old commander, but without him the team kind of... Fell apart. Ironhide and Brawn went off to be guards on some of the few remaining Autobot outposts, and Red Alert was busy as pretty much the only truly competent medic on board the ship.
Which brought him back to Optimus.
He came with another old medic, Ratchet. Red Alert had jumped at the chance to have him aboard. When Hot Shot had worked up the nerve to ask what had gotten the usually reserved femme so worked up, she babbled something about top results at something and another thing about cosmic rust. He retreated shortly after.
Hot Shot had come to the bay somewhat because he was curious about what this medic looked and mainly because he had nothing to do for another few megacycles.
What he saw there surprised him.
The top spacebridge expert out there and one of the main reasons the Autobots had lasted so long, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee Minor, who had gotten quite famous among the remaining Autobots for his quick actions in tough situations and infamous for his reckless endangerment of himself were there.
Both looked nervous, excited and terrified all at the same time.
Hot Shot understood that both were quite young (older than him still, but most were) but he had never really expected to see Bumblebee Minor to have anything less then an arrogant smirk plastered on his face. Instead, deep frown lines had appeared between his brow ridges and he looked a little pale.
The yellow Minor glanced over at his large green companion. "They here yet?"
The larger mech glanced at the thick pad in his servo. "They just got through the space bridge. Docking in a few breems."
"... You think he's okay?"
"I'm sure he is 'Bee, buddy. Ratch' is the best. He wouldn't let 'im suffer."
Wondering who they were talking about, Hot Shot leaned against the far wall as casually as possible, trying to look like he belonged. As far as he knew, the medic was traveling alone.
The few breems passed with much fidgeting from the Minor and the expert, as well as the few mechs assigned to guard duty. Hot Shot was sure Red Alert would want to be here, too, but there had been a minor scuffle between two warriors just before the arrival, and she was thus busy.
Finally, a shudder shook the outside docking bay as the doors reacted to the proper code to open. A relatively small shuttle broke through the protective atmospheric shielding and descended purely on thrusters. Once firmly planted on the deck by landing gear, the shuttle doors opened. Steam rose as two different atmospheres of two different ships clashed, one hotter than the other, and much more humid.
An old mech descended, liberally battle scarred, part of his chevron broken off. The traditional red and white paint marked him as a medic.
Optics scanning the room as only a war medic could, they quickly found Bumblebee and Bulkhead. He beckoned them over with a quick wrist flick. Murmuring quietly to them he scanned the other occupants of the room, optics locking with Hot Shot's for a klik before saying louder, "If any of yah scare him in anyway, I will send you to Primus myself."
He then turned right around and walked swiftly back onto his ship.
It was another few kliks before the medic returned, his back to the cargo bay, slowly backing out. He looked softer somehow now, his brow ridges now not furrowed in a glare, but smoother in something akin to worry. His shoulders were relaxed and his body language safe and friendly. The medic was beckoning to someone still on the ship, encouraging.
"C'mon. They're just out here. It's safe. I promise. It's okay. No-one will hurt you here. We're all Autobots. All friends. Safe. I promise."
Slowly, so slowly, the medic backed up and even slower a red and blue mech came forward.
As opposed to Ratchet, the new mech's body language was anything but calm. His blue optics were clenched and wary, glancing frantically over all the mechs in the room in an almost animalistic way. A mask hid the rest of his face.
But then the wary optics fell on Bumblebee and Bulkhead. They lit up with recognition to a happy cheerful blue and suddenly the mech had launched himself at the two mechs.
Hot Shot started, thinking that the mech was attacking some of the biggest assets to the Autobot army at the moment.
But then it registered that Bulkhead and Bumblebee had launched themselves forward towards the mech, and suddenly they were all hugging, tears flowing wildly down all of their faces. As the messy tangle of three bots sank to the ground Bumblebee and Bulkhead babbled happily into the other mech's audio. The mech just nodded and hugged them tighter, as if scared they would suddenly disappear in his arms.
Too shocked to do much more then stare, Hot Shot didn't realize until much later that throughout the entire escapade, though Bumblebee and Bulkhead chattered enthusiastically, the blue and red mech never said a word.
The first time Hot Shot heard about Optimus indirectly, he didn't even know his name.
The new medic quickly became the talk of the ship. His repairs where as quick as his temper, and more than once a mech went into the medbay with a major wound and came out with many minor ones. It was easily learned that he also didn't like questions into his personal life, and the strange mech he had arrived with counted as part of that life.
For the mystery mech, not much was known. He was quiet and shy, never leaving the medbay unless he was with Bumblebee Minor, Bulkhead or Ratchet, and even then rarely. He sometimes helped Ratchet with basic repairs, getting tools and scrap metal. But he was obviously not a med tech, or a student because his aversion to the more gorier aspects of the job.
Rumors flew about the mech. Some were simple. Ratchet had picked him up on some faraway planet, where he was stranded. Others were outlandish. The mech was an inter-dimensional being more powerful than Primus or any of his avatars.
One thing was certain; something was off about him.
It took the general populous of the Epsilon about a decacycle to figure it out collectively.
He couldn't speak.
No-one on the entire ship had ever heard him say so much as a chirp. This only led to more speculation. Was it some injury? (vocal processors were notoriously hard to fix) An accident? War wound? Could he ever speak?
More rumors flew than ever. Little Sunflow down in engineering swore up and down that it was convinced that the mech was created without a vocal processor at all, instead communicating telepathically. Bite in security would tell you a gruesome tale of a battle for a planet long past were the mech had been stabbed in the throat and lived, sadly destroying his vocal processor in the process (though you had to arrive with a cube of high grade as payment for the story).
So when the mech finally showed up in the main rec. room (for the first time) he was immediately accosted with questions.
The bots frantically asking questions barely noticed the look of pure panic that had sparked in the mech's optics as more and more bots came in from all sides, blocking him in, surrounding him. But Bumblebee Minor did. The small yellow mech bolted to the larger mech, violently pushing bots in the way aside.
As the blue and red mech began to shake and the Minor rushed to his side, the questioners stopped to view the spectacle. They watched as Bumblebee ordered everyone back and for someone to com. Ratchet. They watched as the blue and red mech curled up in a ball on his side, still shaking, but the only noises that came from him were the sounds of overworked systems and vents. They watched as Ratchet ran into the room with a medical kit and knelt by the fallen mech's side saying slowly and clearly, "It's alright Optimus. Deep intakes, like this, see? That's it. In and out. In and out. Keep doing that." They watched as eventually the mech calmed enough for Ratchet to give him a sedative, and as Ratchet carried him out of the room. Eventually they all dispersed, murmuring about what they had seen.
Leaving Hot Shot in his usual booth, wondering where he had heard the name Optimus before.
The next time Hot Shot hears about Optimus, he knows who he is. And so does everybody else.
It wasn't Hot Shot who figured out where he had heard the name before. Rather, he overhears some other mechs in the halls talking about it.
Optimus Prime is one of the few words he catches, but it's enough to trigger a metaphorical lightbulb.
Optimus Prime was the team leader of the space bridge repair crew that found the Allspark. The same crew that Bumblebee Minor and Bulkhead had previously been on.
The mech who disappeared not a stellar cycle into his mission to protect the Allspark. Less than two decacycles later Megatron had returned and reeked havoc to all of the Autobot Commonwealth with the Allspark in his claws.
The reports detailing what actually happened to the Prime were classified, so for most it was left up to speculation. And most of it wasn't good.
A lot of bots wanted someone to blame for the destruction that the disaster had caused and was still causing, and Optimus Prime was a convenient scape goat. With the mech missing, how could he defend himself? Plus, he was the team leader of the team that was meant to protect the Allspark and he failed.
He was even more of a convenient scape goat now. What better scape goat then a mech who could have done something to stop the current situation, was there among them, and couldn't verbally defend himself?
Hot Shot tried to stay out of it the best he could, but even he could see how it was affecting the mute mech.
Optimus stopped coming out at all.
He was never seen by any of the bots aboard the Epsilon. Hot Shot didn't even see him when he went for a regular exam. His last had been overseen by Ratchet, but Optimus had been there, occasionally getting tools for the medic, but mostly just smoothing out metal plates at a work bench along the wall.
Now there was only grumpy old Ratchet, who seemed even gruffer than normal with the lack of his former team leader.
Though Hot Shot was curious as to where the ex-Prime's whereabouts, he didn't want to risk Ratchets temper when it came to the red and blue mech. Ratchet was very protective of Optimus.
Hot Shot could understand that. He was very protective of all his teammates too.
The first time Hot Shot saw Optimus after learning his name, he was dreaming.
Hot Shot hadn't really meant to, but he had managed to dislocate his elbow joint while getting off a graveyard shift at the monitors. He didn't want to talk about it.
Ratchet had been with them for a stellar cycle or two by this time, and everyone had learned in one of the medic's best fits to date that he didn't like being woken from recharge.
But he was the only medic aboard currently due to a scuffle in the gamma quadrant, so Hot Shot had no choice but to face the wrath of the Hatchet.
The young mech eased his way into the medbay hoping to wake the medic as gently as possible.
That's when he heard the thump.
Glancing around thinking that he had knocked something down, Hot Shot noticed movement in one of the private rooms. He snuck over quietly, hoping to catch whoever it was by surprise.
Instead it was him that was surprised.
It was Optimus, deep in recharge on one of the medical berths. As Hot Shot watched Optimus's hand suddenly shot up then down with another thump. Soon it wasn't just his hand doing the jerking motions, but his entire body, twitching and jerking in convulsive spasms.
Optimus's optics suddenly flared wide, back arching off the berth painfully, limbs still jerking. Distantly, Hot Shot heard an alarm and the sound of running peds before Ratchet tore around a corner and dove past Hot Shot towards Optimus. Before the young mech knew it the medic had Optimus wrapped in his arms and was rocking back and forth soothingly as the ex-Prime shook and sobbed brokenly and silently. The medic cooed and whispered quiet comforting into the ailing mech's adios until he had fallen back into an uneasy recharge.
Only when Optimus was on the berth and comfortable again did Ratchet speak, "I'll tell you the whole story and fix your elbow if you tell no-one of this."
And how could Hot Shot refuse?
The first time Hot Shot heard the whole, true story, he was sitting in Ratchet's office, drinking high grade.
The old medic had sat down with a huff and a creak of protesting joints. The older mech took a few sips of high grade to loosen his glossa before saying, "This isn't an easy story to tell. And it's not happy. Not that anything in this war is happy...
"Almost two vorns ago, I was working on a space bridge repair crew under Optimus Prime. We were all rejects. Bumblebee and Bulkhead were kicked out of boot-camp, Optimus out of the Academy, Prowl was wandering alone when we found him and I was a war medic in peacetime. None of us really fit, so we were all sent to the deepest reaches of space to do one of the worst jobs out there.
"None of us really liked each other. We all just tolerated. Then we found the Allspark.
"I told the kid not to touch it, that it could only bring trouble, and bring trouble it did. Not five kliks after finding the thing did the 'cons show up. Coulda been planned."
Ratchet shook his helm.
"We managed to hold off Megatron for a while, long enough for us to bridge somewhere else, and for Optimus to kick Megatron out of the ship.
"We were in stasis lock for a good fifty stellar cycles before we woke. We managed to do pretty well after that... Until..."
The old mech shook his head again and sighed a weary sigh.
"The bounty hunter?" Hot Shot couldn't help but ask.
"Yeah. Him. Apparently the 'Cons had put a huge bounty on Prime because he 'killed' their leader."
"But Megatron wasn't dead! I mean he's alive right now."
"Never said that the 'Cons weren't wrong. But remember this. We hadn't been contacted by the Elite Guard or anyone at this point. We had no orders. We were flying blind. The only reason we survived that long was because Prime-Optimus-kept us together. But then he got captured by Lockdown. And we couldn't save him. So he got taken to those Decepticon scum and tortured and Primus knows what else.
"We lost Prowl on Earth, defending the Allspark with his spark. Literally. Then the remaining of us joined the Autobot resistance and did what we could.
"About half a vorn ago, I was with my unit on a raid. Standard thing: go in, grab all the supplies you can, get out. I was searching what I had thought was a medbay when I found him." At that Ratchet shuddered, "It sure as Pit wasn't a medbay. Not with what they did to him. Pure torture, all of it. I don't want to describe it and you don't want to know.
"But you should at least know this; his vocal processor was unsalvageable. I couldn't do anything for it. Too many other repairs took priority. He was barely online.
"When he finally woke up... He was different. Skittish. Wary. Had horrible memory purges every night. I thought bringing him here, where Bumblebee and Bulkhead were would help, and it did. For a while. Until they all found out who he was." Ratchet leaned close suddenly whispering to Hot Shot. "He doesn't deserve it, the hate. He did everything he could to protect that rock. If any one is to blame, it's us. We didn't save him from this. We could have."
With that Ratchet leaned back and stared into the depth of his cube. Hot Shot couldn't stay here any longer and with barely a glance at the private ward, fled.
The first time Hot Shot entered the medbay without an injury, he looked at Ratchet and said, "How can I help?"
Ratchet stared at him for a long klik and asked "Help with what?"
"With Optimus. How can I help with Optimus?"
The medic had glanced back at the wrench he was polishing in his hand and gave it a longing look. Hot Shot knew that look, and prepared himself for a wretch being thrown at his head. But Ratchet put it down with a sigh and beckoned the younger over. "Yah can start by helping me around the bay. He needs to get used to you. Here, bang the dents outa these plates." The medic handed over the badly dented scrap metal, and Hot Shot set to work.
A few megacycles in to the CPU numbing work, the private room where Optimus slept opened. The mech came out and made a few odd hand movements sleepily before freezing when he noticed Hot Shot.
"Hey Optimus. Hot Shot here us just gonna be helping round the bay for a while. You wanna help?"
The mute mech shook his head negative, still staring warily at the intruder.
"Okay." Ratchet said kindly. He smiled, an actual genuine smile, the only one that Hot Shot had ever seen on the mech. "Your energon is on the counter. Can you get it? As you can see, I'm kinda busy." The medic bobbed his head at his hands buried in the wires of some sort of device.
The mute mech nodded slowly, inching towards the indicated counter, wary optics never leaving Hot Shot. Once at the counter, he glanced at the energon for a second before grabbing it quickly and retreating back into his room.
"That went better than I expected." Ratchet said quite calmly, returning to his work.
Hot Shot glanced at him over his work. He hesitated, not sure that questions would be welcome before opening his mouth and slowly asking. "What were those weird servo movements?"
The medic shot him a look before gesturing in the same fashion as the ex-Prime. "Did he do this?"
"Oh. It's called sign language. I picked it up on Earth. They developed a way for their disabled peoples to communicate with everyone else. When I discovered that Optimus's vocal processor was unsalvageable, I gave him the language download for it. I think it keeps him sane most of the time. The only problem is that only me, 'Bee and Bulkhead understand it. For most bots he's still mute."
They were both silent for a few kliks, long enough that Ratchet had gone back to work, when Hot Shot said, "Can I get the download?"
The next time Hot Shot saw Optimus, Hot Shot could understand him.
It was odd, understanding a language that was comprised of servo movements, but not odd enough to be off-putting. He hadn't really seen the timid mech since that first day helping Ratchet out. The most he had was a glimpse of the top of his head as he peeked around his door to check if the medbay was clear.
Ratchet told him that with instances like this, you just had to be patient. In the last sixty stellar cycles, any new faces for Optimus generally brought new pain. He had to relearn trust for new mechs, and that was a slow process.
A few decacycles into helping Ratchet, Optimus finally warily inched out of his room. He stood there stiffly for a klik glancing rapidly between the two other mechs in the bay.
/Hello, Ratchet/ he signed /How was your joor?/
"It was alright. Not many injuries right now, we haven't seen any battles for a while."
/That's good. Has... /here Optimus signed a combination of the movements for heat, shooting and mech which Hot Shot took as his name /been working well?/
"You should ask him yourself, Optimus. You've been ignoring him for quite a while."
Optimus flinched, looked at his peds then shakily signed, /How are you doing Hot Shot?/
"Pretty good," Hot Shot said cheerfully, "Ratchet's a bit of a slave driver, yah know?"
Optimus flinched at the word slave and Ratchet gave Hot Shot a warning look. He continued on as though neither had happened. Hot Shot had long since figured out that if you kept talking, awkwardness tended to get smoothed over.
The young mech chattered smoothly about what he had learned in the medbay, and his normal boring duties. Before long, Optimus had lifted his helm and asked a few questions. Surprisingly, those normal duties that Hot Shot found boring Optimus found interesting. He soon had Hot Shot reciting his reports, even bring out a few to show him. The ex-Prime absorbed them all quickly and soon asked for more.
Hot Shot mused that it must be a Prime thing, until he thought about how isolating it must be trapped in the medbay all the time. He would be the first to know of all the bad things of war (the injuries, the deaths) and the last to know the at least semi-interesting things (the all quiets, the troop positions). It must be lonely in only this small secluded part of the ship away from the action.
But maybe that's how Optimus wanted it?
No, Hot Shot thought as he watched the mech eagerly read ever datapad in Hot Shot's subspace, all it was that he was too scared of rejection to try and get out there to be accepted by the mechs who thought they had a good reason to hate him.
Most of those bots thought that Optimus had deflected to the Decepticons.
Hot Shot wondered for a moment that maybe he had, and all this, the timidness, the memory purges, were just a ruse.
The young mech glanced at Ratchet, and how the medic watched them interact. Saw the medic's soft prideful smile. He must be proud of Optimus, Hot Shot thought, proud that he was coming out of his shell.
Could a 'Con really trick such an old and experienced medic?
No. Red Alert had been impressed with this mech and it took a lot to make Red Alert impressed. He would have to trust them both.
The first time Hot Shot saw Optimus's face, he had a bad virus.
Hot Shot and Ratchet had been working and chatting quietly when Optimus had stumbled out of his room, fallen to his knees and purged his tanks. The blue and red bot had shakily looked up at Ratchet with a desperation in his optics then collapsed over to his side, shuddering.
Ratchet had leapt up cursing and rushed to his friend's side. Finding a medical port on Optimus's arm, the medic plugged in a datapad, read a few lines of code and began cursing again.
As Hot Shot helped get the mute mech onto a medical berth he didn't notice that Optimus had retracted his mask to properly purge. It wasn't until megacycles later that Hot Shot really noticed.
In those megacycles, Ratchet had cursed the virus to eighteen different levels of the Pit, each vividly described. When he had discovered that the virus was a left over from Optimus's time with the 'Cons that had been lying dormant in his processors for stellar cycles, he cursed himself for not noticing it, all the 'Cons that Hot Shot had ever heard of (including ones long offline) and a few he hadn't, and most of his medical equipment for not being able to find and destroy the virus fast enough.
The virus had been found and terminated and Hot Shot had somewhat forcibly ejected Ratchet into his quarters, promising that he would clean the medbay up and that the medic should go recharge.
It was when Hot Shot was cleaning up the medical berth that he noticed Optimus was still covered in half-processed energon. Not looking forward to the next step (half-processed energon had an unpleasant odor and texture) but not wanting the poor bot to be covered in the gross stuff when he awoke either, he took out some solvents and rags.
Optimus's flat chest was easy to clean, as were his boxy arms. But when Hot Shot made it to the bot's face, he hesitated.
There wasn't a mask there.
As an idle curiosity, sometimes wondered what Optimus's face looked like, and why he hid it so consistently. Hot Shot had never even see Optimus fuel in all the time he had known the blue and red bot. So, hesitantly, Hot Shot lowered a solvent soaked rag to his friend's face.
A few wipes and it was clean.
Slowly he lifted the cloth still covering the face.
He really shouldn't have been surprised with how bad it was.
There were many deep cracked scars littered across the light blue metal. It looked as though somebot had taken their servo and crushed his face slowly. His lips were mangled wrecks, barely welded back together.
"I told you I had to prioritize some injuries over others." Hot Shot jumped and spun around to see Ratchet standing there, leaning against a wall, optics fixed to Optimus's mask-less face. "He was bleeding out from deep lacerations in five major energon lines, his spark chamber was mangled, fuel lines cut from it. His spark was almost gone. I had to save him. I couldn't loose him again like that."
The medic walked slowly over, resting his servos on the berth near one of Optimus's. "By the time I had time to fix his face, it was too late. The scars where too old. His self-repair nanites had tried to bring the plates back together but when they couldn't manage that they created a new derma layer over the broken plates. There was nothing I could do..."
Hot Shot glanced at the destroyed faceplates then at the medic that had tried to fix them. He paused, "You couldn't do any more for him Ratchet. You've done so much already. Look how far you've gotten him. He's safe here-"
"Bah! Safe? Look at how they're all treating him!" Ratchet exploded, "They don't care about what really happened! All they want is someone to blame and Optimus is convenient because he can't defend himself. The only ones who cares about him are me, the Bumblebrat, Bulkhead and you! Four bots on this entire ship! And he isn't getting better! He's getting so much worse, trapped in here, too scared of the Autobots out there! He was fragging tortured brutally by those slagging 'Cons and all they care about is that he can't verbally talk!"
As he shouted the last word, Ratchet's closed fist tried to slam into the wall next to Optimus's berth. Tried, as in a blue hand shot up and grabbed it before it could connect.
Hot Shot and Ratchet started and glanced down at the berth. There was Optimus, wide awake, staring up at Ratchet with sad, compassionate optics. Slowly he let go of the fist and weakly signed /There's the Ratchet I knew./
When the medic gave the ex-Prime a disbelieving look, and the blue bot sighed loud enough to be heard clearly around the room, /You've been too... fake cheerful, Ratchet. That isn't like you. You're passionate, in an angry way, and all that happiness was starting to scare me. That... That was you./ Optimus rested a servo against Ratchet's before signing, /I know you've been worried. But I am safe here. Much safer here with you and Bumblebee and Bulkhead and Hot Shot than I ever was with.../ the mech shudders briefly, optics unfocused for a second as he signs /Them... I'll get better. This is just another virus you need to fix./
Ratchet laughed shortly and gently cuffed Optimus on the helm. "You're an idiot, Optimus."
The blue and red mech smiled and signed, /I know./
The first time Hot Shot sees Rodimus in stellar cycles, he's next to Optimus in the medbay and they're laughing.
It was an odd sight to see the Magnus so relaxed and happy next to the mute mech and even odder to see Optimus happily signing out some story or another.
At his bemused look the Magnus indulged him to explain. "We were in the same class in boot-camp and at the Academy. We're reminiscing! Oh, Optimus, remember the time Sergeant Kup-"
"Not to be rude, sir, but why are you here?" Hot Shot interrupted.
"Well, I walked into my office a few joors ago and there was a mysterious tape there. I had it checked for bad stuff, the usual deal, and when I finally got to watch it, it showed a very angry, old red and white medic ranting about the very unfair treatment of an old friend of mine." Optimus ducked his head at that, and Rodimus punched his arm, "Don't be like that, buddy. I know you were always closer to Sentinel and Elita, but I was still your friend, too. And what those 'bots were doing, it was wrong. Of course I had to step in."
Rodimus looked at Hot Shot with hidden sadness in his optics, "Hot Shot, could I speak with you privately?"
The Magnus smiled at that and led him to a private room. "Now, I think you ought to know. This entire ship knows about what happened to Optimus now. Someone had gotten ahold of the security vids of the medbay during Ratchet's little rant and spread it around. The good news about that, I doubt mechs are going to harass Optimus anymore and you can start getting him used to being around people again. The bad news is that everyone knows that Optimus was tortured brutally, and that might lead to some problems. I hope you can handle it. Primus knows the mech doesn't need any more trauma...
"So, I'm going to leave my old friend in his new friends servos, including yours. Be careful with him." Rodimus clapped Hot Shot's shoulder and left the young mech behind.
Now when Hot Shot saw Optimus, he was in the command center, doing what he did best: commanding.
The last few stellars had been taxing on all of them, and though full of breakthroughs and breakdowns they managed to get Optimus to the highest position he had had yet. What was even better was that in the command deck, any nervousness that might have lingered from Optimus's trauma disappeared. It was like the mech was made for leading.
Hot Shot smiled as he saw the Prime (for he was a Prime again) give out his silent commands. This was the happiest he had ever seen Optimus, when he was working to win the war.
And winning they were.
Because even the most silent will always find a way to speak.