Okay, August 16th has arrived and, as promised, here you have the beginning of the third and last story of my Thundercracker trilogy.

First of all, I want to thank you for all the amazing reviews you left me for the last chapter of 'Deviant'. I was really touched by each one of them, and I thank you deeply from the bottom of my heart. That kind of response is the sweetest High Grade Energon that fuels me to keep writing these stories.

Now, to 'Once a Decepticon…' This story happens approximately six months after the ending of 'Deviant', so expect that some things may have changed due to the events that happened there. As one reviewer pointed out, a new era has begun. Iacon has fallen, Starscream's trine is no more, Thundercracker got promoted… The Cybertronian war has, as Megatron said, taken a very interesting turn.

Many thanks to my beta reader iratepirate, who gave me a good kick of inspiration and revised this chapter practically the same day I sent it to her, making it possible to post it today.

Once a Decepticon…

Written by Taipan Kiryu

Summary: G1. As the war between Autobots and Decepticons escalates, Thundercracker makes a last stand against himself. Sequel to 'Deviant' and final part of my Thundercracker trilogy.

Disclaimer: Transformers belong to Hasbro/Takara. I don't own anything but the plot of this story and the love for giant, alien robots.


The echo of footsteps faded as the figure decreased its speed, taking shelter within the big shadow on the wall. The two moons of Cybertron were being very generous that cycle, bathing in silver light the streets that had no aspirations other than darkness.

But such generosity was not welcomed. The one thing the mech leaning on the wall wished for more than anything was darkness, the only mantle that would give him a fleeting illusion of invisibility. Iacon was blind indeed, but she could see far beyond her offlined eyes.

The narrowed optics of the mech flickered as he scanned the intersection ahead. Countless data invaded his HUD; repetitive, empty data that only increased his fear. Never had nothingness been so terrifying. His systems couldn't perceive anything on the four streets that met just some mechano meters ahead of him, dormant serpents that once had been populated with life but now stood alone, cold metal replacing their ancient splendor. Undead would have been a better word to describe them.

His finger trembled when he reached for the small button at the right side of his head. He didn't find it easily, it had been attached to his helmet very recently.

"Requesting coordinates for extraction… O-over," he said with the awkwardness of a civilian who wasn't used to the ways of war, despite having been its victim since its very beginning.

He was about to try again, certain that he had done something wrong, when a coarse, metallic voice could be heard inside his head.

"Coordinates 75, 0, 0, 8, sector Pax-7. Proceed."

He tried to sigh. Sector Pax-7… that was not very far away, not for a mech that was used to wandering, like he was. Others, the privileged ones, including all those post-war models who wore an insignia and thought of themselves as gods, would have found the destination distant, but not him. When roaming through the state-cities in search for a dot of Energon or an abandoned spare part, there was no such thing as distance.

But when gazes could be felt on a mech's back, scorching him like plasma beams… then distance became infinite.

The mech moved, sliding his trembling hand along the wall, focusing on the cold metal touching his fingers and blindly searching for a fake sense of security. There was no sound, no energy signatures, no sight other than the abandoned streets… and yet he knew he was not alone.

He remembered who he was going to meet. One of those fancy models, one who had fought the war on other worlds, organic worlds… a Seeker. He didn't even know if he was a Decepticon or an Autobot. All he had heard was that the Seeker had the worst of both.

The mech looked downwards, his yellowish optics glancing at his old, bare chest plates, where fear was the only insignia. He wondered if it happened that way with organics, if their chest plates or whatever they had as such raised and lowered as fast as his, if their vital fuels pumped painfully against their energy cores, if terror ran down their cheeks like the dots of lubricant that were currently moistening his face…

He repressed a shiver when he took another step. His sensors were not reliable; he couldn't trust in the things he could see, not even in the ones he could touch. It was beyond the veil of mist where truth existed, wrapped between the blurry tentacles of a myth. Iacon was dead, but her heart kept pumping, sending agonizing cries and squirming amongst her own decay, every pulse a denial of all those dark streets in which something lower than life was stirring and giving its first steps.

"It's not real, it's not real," he repeated his mantra, trying to convince himself that he was alone, that the streets wouldn't engulf him. Superstitions were born that way, so were nightmares…

The reward was vast. Unlimited Energon, repairs, protection, a place in the new order that the winner of the war would establish once he crushed his enemies…

Iacon was mad, but why would she turn her anger to him? He hadn't harmed her… not yet.

A short circuit in a lamp above made the mech jump. For a moment, it was something other than the moons of Cybertron that reached his partially rusted face. The small rain of sparks was ghostly. It reminded him of acid rain. How many dots of acid rain had he felt burning his armour during the ancient and almost forgotten times in which he, and the war, had been young?

The last sparks were still falling on the ground when the mech advanced, his rusted servos entering the moonlight with a speed that didn't belong to them. He just had to cross the avenue and he would be there, on the narrow street that would lead him to the tunnels and thus to the outskirts of Iacon. Why wouldn't Iacon allow him to get there? He had been there so many times, beggaring, rummaging through the remains… Why would Iacon turn her fury to one of her more unfortunate sons?

His joints articulated smoothly, reminding him of better times, when youth had been his acquaintance. But it wasn't youth the thing fueling his speed. It was fear, raw and primitive, the one thing that made no distinctions between organic and mechanic.

Primus, more than ever he wished that his transformation cog was functional.

He could hear his steps. They were his, the proof that he existed right there and right in that moment. Iacon could hear him too.

"Please allow me to pass, please…" he prayed to the Mother of all city-states.

Then he realized that his steps were the only thing that he could hear. There was nothing else reaching his audio receptors. The dust, the debris, the darkened windows… everything was silent, paralyzed in that exact moment in which he realized that there could be no such thing as a short circuit in a city that had no energy left at all.

The lamp… what had powered the lamp?

He had almost reached the supposed safety of his destination when he knew that there was no use. Everything he had done until then was useless. Iacon was watching him, and she was angry.

He wasn't surprised when sound returned; a muffled, yet piercing sound.

And it didn't return alone.

Perhaps, if his pain hadn't been beyond unbearable, he would have had time to recognize the screechy sound of his own circuitry being shredded. Perhaps he would have had time to feel the emptiness in his torso and realize that his spark chamber had been ripped from his chest, taken to his face and crushed right before his fading optics. Perhaps…

But he never knew anything of that. The only thing he could realize amidst the pain was the sound of his own voice, howling his agony in desperate harmonics.

He never got to see his mutilated hand, twisted horribly on the ground, its fingers still scratching the fissures they had opened in the surface during that unique nanoklik that had been his last.

In the dream, it was always white. A vast, endless extension of white that contrasted with the darkness of his radar. It was peaceful too, but a peace that was related only to desolation. The wind blew savagely, punishing his audio receptors and his fuselage with millions of frozen needles.

Curiously, he felt no pain, or maybe he just didn't care about it. His attention was focused on his engines, forced to their extreme as he tried to reach the light above his nosecone. His equilibrium chip had given up for what it seemed like an eternity. He didn't know in which direction he was flying. Despite the intense light, he felt as if he was flying in blindness, the darkness as pure as it had never been, and yet as tricky as a nightmare.

Perhaps he was flying upwards, or even descending into the ultimate Pit. All he knew was that there was a light above. He called it light and he distinguished it from the surrounding whiteness only because it was warm, like the memory of a hug. He knew that feeling well, despite being so ancient and impossible. He knew it as much as he yearned for it, his weakness not being enough to make him feel shame.

The white opened, showing itself as never-ending. He knew that place, he knew that cold. It belonged to the world that was not his, the same world that had witnessed the deviant ways of his soul. Purple and red greeted him daringly, each one urging him to decide one course of flight. He had reached the pinnacle from which he couldn't divide himself anymore.

The wind blew, crueler than ever. He tried to adjust his inner temperature, but there was no use. His energy core was cold, as well as his spark. The light in the distance was bright and warm, but it was not welcoming him. It didn't reject him either, it only tempted him, attracting him with invisible fingers that never got to touch him.

He knew that, and still he accepted the rules of the game. More than ever, he was a plaything.

He was flying blind, and he was flying nowhere.

Giving pleasure was her conscience. Ever since the first time she had been aware of being online, satisfying other mechs had become her only function. One mech was the same as the next; giving him ecstasy was her life force, never receiving it was her creed. That's why the sound of her own pleasure had felt so foreign, that's why she had found herself wanting to override the programming that prevented her from overloading. The urge of ecstasy had never been so tangible.

Number 3-B moaned as her fingers scraped the shoulder joint so close to her face, frame against frame in the interminable symphony of screeching metallic sounds and energy exchanges that signaled the unique communion two Cybertronian bodies could have.

He was a very attractive mech. He had to be, considering he was a Seeker. Some said that Seekers had been created purposely beautiful in order to distract their enemies on the battlefield. Others even dared to say that the perfection of their designs had been architected by Primus himself, so he could rejoice with the sight of his beautiful winged creations.

But reality was much less poetic. Seekers were precious, deadly creatures, proud of themselves and of the skies they had claimed as their only love. Their high military and social status had nothing to do with aesthetics or myths; it relied only on their fast speed and their extraordinary ability to kill.

She looked at the fingers intertwined with hers. It was hard to imagine that strong gray hand moistened with the blood of an enemy. Purple just didn't seem to fit that Seeker, although he wore it on his wings and on the stripes on his shoulders that revealed his high rank.

He had been in the brothel only a few times, but she had learned quickly to recognize his signals. When his optics faded and his lip components pressed hers almost to the threshold of pain, she increased the flows of energy to their limit, guiding him to a point of no return in which the only option was ecstasy. That was the moment in which he was completely defenseless, right when he reached the borders of reality and sank into the realm in which all mechs descended to their most primitive, and yet pure, state.

He overloaded, silent as he always did. Number 3-B had lost count of how many mechs had overloaded on top of her, but she couldn't recall any other who hadn't howled their pleasure. Ever since the ancient times in which she had been the toy of a prestigious Senator, to the more recent vorns in which war had turned her into the pleasure port for many, moaning was the pitiful feedback she received from a satisfied customer… or victimizer.

But the blue and gray Seeker never moaned. He just stayed on top of her, his pleasure slowly fading, his systems realigning and returning him to whatever unbearable burden he was carrying before finding a momentary escape within her intimacy. It wasn't pleasure that he was looking for, she knew that already. It was release, a bunch of anonymous nanokliks in which he could run away from himself and forget who he was.

"My Lord…" she whispered. She called him that, the thought of asking his name had never crossed her mind. She had heard that he was a very important officer, that he responded only to the Supreme Commander of the Decepticons himself…

"May I treat you with an Energon cube, my Lord?"

He didn't answer immediately. He barely spoke to her, but she felt comfortable in his presence, and not only because he was the first Decepticon who didn't brutalize her. Ever since the first time they had interfaced, she had noticed that he was different. He had taken her without violence, unlike the rest of his kind, which found pleasure in the mere idea of dominance. But he hadn't been soft either, his passion guided by something other than lust.

Pleasure bots knew better than anyone else about the stains on the spark of a mech. That Seeker was not stained; he was torn.

His optics onlined, slowly recovering their normal deep crimson colour.

"I'm no Lord," he said, rejecting both the title and the Energon. He slowly removed his interfacing cable from her port and sat on the edge of the berth.

After the act, there was no need for her to touch him again, but still she did. She liked his wide shoulders, she liked to run her hand over the beautiful metal of his wings. It was hard to believe, seeing him there, closing his chest plates after giving up to some anonymous moments of lust, that he had flown Cybertronian and alien skies for thousands of vorns. At least that was what the others said.

Her hand went beyond, caressing the yellow glass of his cockpit. Maybe he would interface with her again. Sometimes he did it, if time and his own angst allowed it.

But another obstacle was meant to happen that day, as the slight buzz of his communicator prophesied. He got up and walked toward the other side of the room. Under the dimmed orange light, she could see the features of his face hardening, a frown of preoccupation clouding the crimson of his optics. He spoke in a very low voice, but she could hear him mentioning some coordinates and talking about someone who was apparently missing.

He ended the communication and walked towards the door, giving her a last glance and throwing her an extra one thousand Energon credits coin. He always ended their interface sessions that way, such was his goodbye.

She didn't take the currency until the door closed behind him. It wasn't credits that she wanted, only his return. But, like many of the mysteries that surrounded that Seeker, she realized that his return was one of the things she could never be certain about.

To be continued.

I should say "to be started". This was only a short prologue, to get in the mood.

As you could notice, this story will happen mostly on Cybertron, but we will also see a good amount of Earth too – thank you, Transformers Universe, for the Space Bridge!

Also, I'm not very keen on original characters, so don't let these first lines trick you. As I said, I was just getting in the mood and I included a couple of original characters here that helped to paint the picture, but the plot will focus on all the canon characters that left their doors open after the ending of 'Deviant'.

Okay, that was all for this prologue. Chapter 1 will be landing here really soon.