Do yourself a favor and play this song if you have it while reading it. It fits like you would not believe. Find it on Youtube if you must.
"No Prisoners, Only Trophies" - Transformers: Dark of the Moon Score
No One Lives Forever
His eyes watered as he dialed Mikaela's number. Even after their breakup, he still had it. He looked up out the window of his room, the golden light of the dying afternoon filtering past, giving everything a soft, ethereal glow. Mikaela picked up, asking Sam what was up. Sam was quiet for a moment, then relayed the message he was asked to relay. A teardrop fell down his cheek as he did, making him look up to his ceiling, trying to blink back the hot tears that threatened to fall. Mikaela fell silent, then said she would be there. Sam flipped his phone shut, tossing it on the bed and collapsing to a chair nearby, his hands going to his face, covering it, his body shaking as he cried.
Lennox sat in the driver's seat of Optimus Prime, his wife and child of four years sitting in the passenger seats. They rode down the highway in silence, even their little girl silent. She knew what had happened, and was a very sad little girl. Lennox stared out the windshield of the cab, his Army hat sitting in his lap, his uniform pressed and covered in all the decorations and medals he had earned during his time thus far in the Army. But right now...none of the decorations and medals meant anything to him. Over and over a memory played in his mind, causing him to swallow once as he fought back tears that only a trained military composure could do. His wife reached up with her hand, wiping a single tear that fell from her eyes away. She tried so hard to stay strong, but the news had ripped her apart inside, and now it was even harder to hold the tears back.
Simmons and Epps sat in silence as Ratchet rode down the road behind Optimus, Simmons staring out the driver side window while Epps watched out the passenger side. Even Simmons wasn't joking or laughing right now. No snide remarks came to mind. No visions of grandeur or ideas of saving the world. No thoughts of tomorrow, how Chicago was going to be repaired, what his love life was going to be like...no, none of that crossed his mind. The only thought on his mind was their destination, and the reason behind it. He sniffed, reaching up half-annoyed as a tear slid down his own cheek, destroying his macho-image of himself. But perhaps that image didn't matter right now. Not as much as the purpose behind the several vehicles heading out of town. Epps had his chin on his fist, angry and hurt over the events that had played out. He kept fighting back the waves of tears that threatened his own eyes, blinking more often than usual. He didn't say a single word to Simmons, content to think over the events that had passed. He hadn't been there for what happened, only heard about it from Lennox. The news...was devastating.
Sam and Mikaela joined the small convoy in silence, Optimus pulling into the next lane to allow them over. There was a spot between Optimus Prime and Ratchet, but they didn't take it. Instead, they waited until they could fall into line behind Ratchet. That spot up ahead was reserved...but no one would ever ride up to take that spot again. Mikaela looked over at Sam, who was staring out the windshield, trying to keep himself composed. Carly wasn't able to be there with them, her own family having problems that she was needed for. She had given Sam a real rabbits foot this time, though, which Sam had stuffed in his pocket now. Mikaela reached out, gently placing a hand on Sam's arm in comfort. Sam glanced over, his eyes red and watering. Mikaela's face was wrought with sadness and pain, a mirror of Sam's. It'll be okay, she said to him, watching him nod halfheartedly, not believing it himself. He felt a tear tumble down his own cheek, but refused to wipe it off. It deserved to be there.
Two other vehicles joined the convoy shortly after Sam, Mikaela and Bumblebee appeared, those being Sideswipe and Mirage. No honking was made, no swerves to fight for spaces, no actions except a single swing into the lane behind Bumblebee, Mirage behind the yellow Camaro and Sideswipe behind the red Ferrari.
It was an hour long drive as the strange convoy of semi, ambulance, Camaro, Corvette and Ferrari made their way down the highway in silence, all in a single lane, the one spot still open. Human cars and trucks sped their way along, oblivious to the real meaning behind the five vehicles riding at exactly the speed limit, their distance between each other never changing. The sunlight trickled dimly between the buildings of the fading city, the open land widening to greet them. Optimus finally turned off of the highway, his engines rumbling as he shifted into a lower gear, turning onto a dirt road that headed out towards an empty, grassy field far in the distance. The remaining four vehicles followed, always keeping that space open. Dust slowly lifted up around them as they traveled along that dirt road, the slowly setting sunlight filtering through it.
It would be a few more moments before Optimus Prime finally rolled to a stop in front of a large, flat disk carved out of sandstone. There was a simple carving on it, a few Cybertronian letters written across the center of it. It was a name.
Lennox opened the door and stepped out, followed by his wife and solemn little girl. The little girl held a small white rose in her hand, a small pink ribbon tied around the base of the flower. The trails of the ribbon tickled her hands, but she paid no mind at all. Lennox slipped his hat on as he looked back, seeing Ratchet, Bumblebee, Mirage and Sideswipe pulling around in a large circle around the disk before them and coming to a stop. Sam, Mikaela, Simmons and Epps all exited their rides at about the same time, each one nodding knowing, sad glances at each other.
All at once, the air filled with the sounds of metal plating moving, sliding and clinking together, servos working in harmony and connections catching and shifting. All the vehicles were now in their true forms, standing tall. However, no one stood proud today. The humans all gathered together, standing near the disk.
There was another few moments of silence as everyone took to a personal space around the disk. More silent tears fell as they watched Optimus place a device on the disk under the name and activated it. A holographic image of Ironhide appeared. The image stood tall and proud, his cannons out as if ready for battle. Lennox's composure wavered slightly, the memory of what happened still fresh in his mind. His eyes watered and he blinked, a single tear beading on his lower eyelashes. A quiet sniff was heard from Mikaela as she raised her hand and wiped her cheeks. She may not have been around this last time, but she still considered all of them her friends. Hearing what had happened to Ironhide broke her heart. She had to be here. The only real crying that was heard was from the little girl, who was whimpering softly, trying not to make a lot of noise. Tears fell down her cheeks at the sight of the image of the proud warrior in front of her.
"My friends..." Optimus started, his voice deep, but solemn. "Thank you all for being here." He took a small step forward as he looked around at everyone. "Today we recognize a great warrior, a true friend, and a valuable asset to our ranks. His death...was unwarranted." He paused a moment, staring at the image of his old friend.
"He has been there for us since the beginning of the war. His death was not the first, and will not be the last. Many have died for our cause, and each one I mourn as much as the last.
"We commit his Spark back to endless fields of energy that surround space and time, and we pray that he finds his way back to Primus. Primus, if you are listening to us, here on this planet, watch over him for us, as you do Jazz." He said softly. "He was our friend, he fought for the rights and freedoms of our race...and then for the rights of the human race." He finished quietly, stepping back and saluting the hologram of his friend. After a moment, he reached down and scratched a small symbol on the surface of the disk.
"Friend." Optimus said, straightening back up and looking around, the silence allowing another to step up.
Ratchet had stepped up, kneeling down to scratch his own symbol in the surface of the disk.
"Honor. He fought for us all bravely, never thinking about himself. He saved my life several times. I will miss him deeply, as we all will." Ratchet said, his vocalizers catching slightly at the end. He stood back up, taking a step back to his spot, his optics dim in sadness.
It was Bumblebee's turn, who stepped up slowly and bent down, slowly scratching a symbol as well. His radio crackled to life, a quote from Mark Twain being voiced over the airwaves.
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." Bumblebee shut off his radio and pointed at his symbol, indicating that it meant 'Courage'. He then placed a metal hand on the disk, a low, mournful whine coming from him. Sam made a soft choking sound; the sound of Bumblebee mourning over his now-gone friend was heartbreaking. Mikaela looked over and placed a hand on Sam's shoulder, her own eyes watering. Sam didn't look at her, but watched as Bumblebee finally stood up and went back to his spot, his doorwings sagging down.
Sideswipe was next. He reached forward, scratching a symbol with his blades.
"Warrior. One of the bravest I ever knew. May Primus rest his Spark." he said shortly, pulling back and looking away. He hated that Ironhide was gone, and hated how he had died. No one deserved to die by a sudden rust decomposition like that, especially at the hands of one of your own. Optimus looked at him, seeing the pain that Sideswipe was in. Each had their own way of dealing with the pain, and in times like this, the corvette often withdrew.
Mirage was the last of the Autobots to step forward, adding his own symbol slowly.
"Sacrifice." He stated, sighing softly. "In the end, that was what he did, what he was always willing to do for any of us." the Ferrari said quietly, stepping back and bowing slightly towards the disk and the image of Ironhide.
Optimus looked around at everyone, his optics catching on their human friends.
"Do you wish to say something?" He asked gently, watching as all six of the humans looked up. Lennox was the first, nodding and stepping forward and clearing his throat, trying to keep that welt of pain from working it's way high enough in his throat to make the tears run.
"When I first heard of you guys, I couldn't believe it. I had no idea what I was getting into. That first battle at Mission City brought us all together. Ironhide...he became a close friend. He brought me back to my wife and daughter. He helped us on days off. We worked closely together in N.E.S.T. I will never forget you, Ironhide. Thankyou for everything you have done. You are an honorable warrior, one of the most amazing soldiers I have ever met. I am honored to have worked with you, and fought side by side with you." He said, loud enough for everyone to hear him. He came to attention, giving the Autobot Warrior an Armed Forces salute. He stood there for several seconds before finally lowering his hand and stepping back, his military composure no longer keeping his emotions in check as a single tear slid down the soldier's face, glittering in the fading light as the sun dipped down below the horizon finally.
Epps stepped forward after a moment, setting a bottle of high-grade oil on the disk and sighing.
"I'm gonna miss you, man...take care, okay?" He said, standing up after a moment and wiping his face, staring down at the disk in front of him before stepping back again. "...Just not fair..." he added quietly as he turned around, Lennox's wife turning to comfort him, resting a hand on his shoulder.
Sam swallowed and stepped forward slowly, drawing one hand out of his pockets to wipe the tears from his face. He sniffed, staring at the image of Ironhide, remembering back to the first time he ever saw Ironhide.
"First time I saw Ironhide...he aimed his cannons at me and asked me if I felt lucky. Well..." He paused, resting a hand on his hip for a second before dropping it again. "Yeah...I do feel lucky. I'm lucky to have met him, and all of you. Ironhide fought for what he believed in. He protected all of us. Hell, he watched over Lennox's family at times." He added, waving his hand over to the small family behind him, looking at them. Lennox nodded at Sam. The two of them had become friends over the last several years. "I made friends because you all arrived here. Friends I didn't expect. Friends...that died to save our planet, our race. Our lives." He said, and leaned down, placing a small metal cube on the ground he had made for this occasion. He had painted it a gold color, putting little symbols and scratches and designs on it. When he took his hand away, everyone could see it resembled the Allspark. Optimus felt a fresh pang of sorrow flow through him at the sight of that.
"Thanks for showing me the cannons, Ironhide. They were pretty impressive." Sam added, a fresh wave of tears flowing down his cheeks as he stood up and backed up, one hand going to his mouth, his other arm curling around his stomach as he stared at the holoimage of his friend. Mikaela rested her hands on his shoulders in a consoling manner, trying to be comforting. Sam's face was twisted with pain and sorrow. If he said anything else, he'd have to walk away and let the tears fall more freely.
It was another moment before the little girl finally walked up slowly. She was in a simple white dress with her gold hair up in a little pony tail, a bright pink ribbon holding her hair together. Everyone went silent, their eyes and optics all on her as she walked up to the disk, the rose held in front of her with both hands.
"Thanks for playing wit' me, 'Hide..." she said, her voice sad. She knelt down on the ground, her dress getting dirty, but she didn't care. Gently, she laid the rose on the disc, the ribbon curled under the flower as she set it down. "You're my bestest friend...I miss you."
Lennox couldn't hold it back as another tear fell from his eyes, his wife having turned back to her husband. Her hand slipped into his hand, her head resting on his shoulder, her own eyes filled with tears. Epps had turned back around and was silently watching. Simmons had made no move...he had no idea what to say at all.
Lennox's little girl finally stood back up, turning around and walking back over to her mom and dad. Her mom knelt down and hugged her telling her how brave she was. Optimus looked around for a moment, seeing no one else move forward.
"You honor us and him with your words, my friends. Thankyou." The Autobot Leader said gently. looking around at their human friends, and the rest of the Autobots in front of him.
Everyone fell silent again, watching the image of their friend on the disk as the sun's light began to turn the sky a soft reddish-purple, a dim gold glow fading from the sky where it was last seen. The world around them was growing dark, as if a silent vigil to the fallen warrior. Optimus looked up to the sky, his Spark heavy with sorrow and sadness, hoping yet again for an end to the war that has taken so many lives.
Above them, a single shooting star shot across the sky, slowly falling sparkles left in it's wake as it lit a path across the darkening sky.
A/N - This was done as a tribute to Ironhide, who didn't even get a mention of his death after the movie, unlike Jazz or Jetfire. Jazz was mentioned and honored by Optimus in the first movie, Jetfire was honored by Optimus taking his parts per the jet's last request. Ironhide, however...he needed something. This is for all the fans out there saddened and shocked by his death. I know I was in complete shock in that scene and wanted to know -WHY-.
Ironhide, you are absolutely awesome, and the best cannonslinger I have ever seen. Primus guide you. *salutes*
Edit: In a strange twist of fate or irony...I found out the next morning after writing this that my Grandfather had died...the very night I wrote this. This now has more meaning to me than any other story ever will.